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^V^lnnals of 


I he Wvomind History 101.1 


V>L 69. N 

iicrants on the Platte River Road, 1846-1869 

VVyoni i rig's Htspan ic Sheephj 

Aunt Norn and I 

Kim" Nek 


e cover: 

In the year when we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Mormon Trail it is fitting to look again at the 
role of the U.S. Army in the settlement of Wyoming and the West. Michael Tate's article, beginning on 
page 2, does just that. And Joel Hyer's article about the Hayfield Fight reinforces the fact that the rela- 
tionship between the military and civilians in the West was not always amicable. 

But emigrants on the trails were not the only beneficiaries of a military presence. Indeed, the establish- 
ment of forts D.A. Russell, Sanders, and Fred Steele aided the expeditious construction of the Union 
Pacific Railroad across southern Wyoming. And it was the existence of that transcontinental rail link that 
turned travel over the trails from a river to a trickle. 

Fort Fred Steele was established near present-day Rawlins on June 30, 1868 to protect rail construction 
crews, and, in particular, those men who were working on the construction of the bridge over the North 
Platte River. It was named for Civil War hero Frederick Steele, later became a trade and shipping center, 
and was finally abandoned in 1886. 

The bucolic view of Fort Fred Steele on the cover was created by Phillipe Denis De Trobriand, a 
Frenchman who became a U.S. citizen to participate in the Civil War. After the war he served in the reg- 
ular army at posts in Dakota, Montana, Utah and Wyoming territories — including Fort Fred Steele. De 
Trobriand was an active writer and painter. Two of his paintings of Fort Fred Steele survive. They were 
purchased for preservation and public appreciation by the Wyoming State Museum with funds con- 
tributed by the Wyoming State Historical Society. The companion to this image was published previous- 
ly on the cover of Annals of Wyoming in 1981 (Vol. 53, No. 1). 

Photograph provided courtesy of the Wyoming Division of Cultural Resources 

The editor of Annals of Wyoming welcomes manuscripts and photographs on every aspect of the history of Wyoming and the 
West. Appropriate for submission are unpublished, research-based articles which provide new information or which offer 
new interpretations of historical events. First-person accounts based on personal experience or recollections of events will be 
considered for use in the "Wyoming Memories" section. Articles are reviewed by members of the journal's Editorial 
Advisory Board and others. Decisions regarding publication are made by the editor. Manuscripts (along with suggestions 
for illustrations or photographs) should be submitted on computer diskettes in a format created by one of the widely-used 
word processing programs along with two printed copies. Submissions and queries should be addressed to Editor, Annals of 
Wyoming, P.O. Box 1847, Riverton, WY 82501. 

E ditor 

Loren Jost 

Editorial Advisory Board 

Barbara Bogart 
Don Hodgson 
Lawrence M. Woods 
John D. McDermott 
William H. Moore 
Antonette Noble 
Thomas F. Stroock 
James B. Griffith, Jr. 
David Kathka 
T.A. Larson 
Sherry Smith 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Publications Committee 

Michael Cassity 
Rick Ewig 
Sherry Smith 
David Kathka 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Executive Committee 

Michael Cassity, Laramie 
Patty Myers, Wheatland 
Mike Jording, Newcastle 
Sherry Taylor, Casper 
Rick Ewig, Laramie 
Barbara Bogart, Evanston 
Glen Morris, Kemmerer 
Linda Fabian, Cheyenne 
Marna Grubb, Green River 

Governor of Wyoming 

Jim Geringer 

Wyoming Dept. of Commerce 

Gene Bryan, Director 
Karyl Robb, Administrator, 
Div. of Cultural Resources 

Wyoming Parks & Cultural 
Resources Commission 

William Dubois, Cheyenne 
Michael J. Devine, Laramie 
Laurie Latta, Pinedale 
Rosie Berger, Sheridan 
David Peck, Lovell 
Herb French, Newcastle 
Jere Bogrett, Riverton 
Hale Kreycik, Douglas 
Jeanne Hickey, Cheyenne 

\jl\ nnals of 


The Wyoming History Journal 
Winter 1997, VoL 69. No. 1 

Civilization's Guardian: 

Army Aid to Emigrants on the Platte River Road, 1846-1869 

by Michael L.Tate 2 

Friction Along the Frontier: 

Conflict Between Soldiers and Civilians at the Hayfield Fight 

by Joel R. Hyer 17 

Wyoming's Hispanic Sheepherders 

by Peg Arnold 29 

vvyominq jYLemories 

Aunt Norn and Uncle Will: 

Memories of the Downey Family of Laramie 

by Elmer "Kim" Nelson 35 

v M 

Books about Wyoming and the West 


Reviews edited by Carl Hallberg 43 

Beyond the Bozeman Trail: The Story of Captain Alexander Wishart 
by Walter K. MacAdam 

Buffalo Bill's Town in the Rockies: A Pictorial History of Cody, Wyoming 
by Jeannie Cook, Lynn Houze, Bob Edgar and Paul Fees 

Custer's First Sergeant: John Ryan 
by Sandy Barnard 

David E. Jackson, Field Captain of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade 
by Vivian Linford Talbot 

Overland: The California Emigrant Trail of 1841-1870 
by Greg MacGregor 

Wagon Wheels: A Contemporary Journey on the Oregon Trail 
by Candy Moulton and Ben Kern 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal is published by the Wyoming State Historical Society in 
association with the Wyoming Department of Commerce. The journal was previously published as the 
Quarterly Bulletin (1923-1925), Annals of Wyoming (1925-1993), Wyoming Annals (1993-1995), and Wyoming 
History Journal (1995-1996). The Annals has been the official publication of the Wyoming State Historical 
Society since 1953 and is distributed as a benefit of membership to all society members. Articles in Annals 
are abstracted in Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life. 

Editorial correspondence and inquiries about reprints and back issues should be addressed to Annals of 
Wyoming, P.O. Box 1847, Riverton, Wyoming 82501-1847. Inquiries about membership and distribution 
should be addressed to the Wyoming State Historical Society, 1740H184 Dell Range Blvd., Cheyenne, 
Wyoming 82009. 

Copyright © 1997, Wyoming State Historical Society 

ISSN: 1086-7368 

Civilization's Guardian: 

Army Aid to Emigrants on the Platte River Road, 1846-1869 

Michael L. Tate 

Few American institutions have been more 
stereotyped than the frontier army of the nine- 
teenth century. Pulp novels, movies, television 
and the popular art of men such as Frederic 
Remington and Charles Schreyvogel have conveyed 
the romantic image of the gallant and dashing caval- 
ryman locked in continuous combat with feather- 
bedecked Indian warriors. Celebrated movie director 
John Ford contributed greatly to the longevity of this 
portrayal with his army trilogy Fort Apache (1948), 
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), and Rio Grande (1950) 
which remain immensely popular with cable televi- 
sion audiences even today. Ford placed the military 
in picturesque settings such as Monument Valley, 
introduced elements of conflict with renegade 
Indians and unscrupulous whites, and presented 
rigidly typecast characters imitative of Captain 
Charles King's army novels of the late nineteenth 
century. His prized discovery, John Wayne, repre- 

Dr. Michael L. Tate is a professor of history at the University of 
Nebraska at Omaha with twenty-five years of experience teach- 
ing frontier and American Indian courses. He has also published 
numerous articles dealing with Indians and the United States 
military in the American West. This article is the product of wider 
research on the concept of the multi-purpose army in the Trans- 
Mississippi West between 1846 and 1900. 

sented the tough, experienced ranking officer whc^ 
drove his men through immense hardships, bu 5( 
earned their respect and admiration. Ford's films alsc C 
made important use of secondary characters such as W 
Ben Johnson, Harry Carey, Jr., and Ward Bond to con- * 
vey the dutiful nature of frontier soldiers and then 11 
total commitment to the "regimental family." . cc 

Later movies such as Ralph Nelson's Soldier Bluq ] 
(1970) and Arthur Perm's Little Big Man (1970) broke 
with Ford's tradition and, instead, cast the frontier ta 
army as a racist killing machine which happily mur- 
dered and mutilated peaceful Indian people at the 
behest of corrupt politicians and businessmen. Kevin 
Costner's critically acclaimed box office success 
Dances With Wolves (1990) evoked the same denunci 
ation of frontier soldiers as a collection of insane offi 


Photographic images of emigrants on the Oregon Trail 
are scarce so the paintings created by the photographer 
William H. Jackson from his memories of the trail 
when he traveled it as a young bullwhacker are espe- 
cially valuable. The Jackson painting displayed above 
shows an emigrant train camped near Chimney Rock 
in what is now western Nebraska. (Wyoming Division 
of Cultural Resources) 

VlNTER, 1997 

ers and beastly enlisted men. Though both polarized 
>erspectives draw upon historical events to docu- 
nent their cinematic portrayals, they miss a more 
rucial point. The army spent relatively little time 
>atrolling for or in armed conflict with Native 
Americans. In truth, the overwhelming majority of its 
ime was spent in mundane but more important 
luties. The army conducted explorations, built roads, 
jperated river ferries, undertook agricultural experi- 
nents, delivered federal mails, protected national 
>arks, collected scientific data, provided relief to des- 
itute civilians, acted in concert with civilian law offi- 
:ers to enforce the law, and frequently served as an 
idvocate of Indian rights and protector of their lands. 
<or all its virtues and faults, the multi-purpose army 
erved as the "right arm" of the federal government 
n its nineteenth century expansionist policies, and it 
s in this larger context that the institution must be 
evaluated. 1 

To better document one phase of the larger multi- 
)urpose army story, it is appropriate to examine the 
nilitary's key role in promoting America's greatest 
nternal migration story — the movement of over 
500,000 people along the Platte River Trail to Oregon, 
alifornia and Salt Lake City between 1846 and 1869. 
/Vhile modern audiences are often quick to judge that 
:his great migration represented the essence of 
ugged individualism, they fail to see the important 
zontributions of the federal government in this enter- 
prise. More specifically, they overlook how the army 
itilized its time and meager resources to help facili- 
ate this transferal of people. 

A s early as 1840, some federal officials began 
/ \ to recognize the need for greater federal 
JL JL attention to the largely unimproved trails 
which crossed the Great Plains. Secretary of War Joel 
R. Poinsett recommended the establishment of three 
oosts along the Oregon Trail to help protect overlan- 
ders and promote their travels. During the following 
^ear, Poinsett's successor, John C. Spencer, reiterated 
the special need for a "chain of posts" along the 

1. Michael L. Tate, "The Multi-Purpose Army on the 
Frontier: A Call for Further Research," in The American West: 
Essays in Honor of W. Eugene Hollon, ed. by Ronald Lora (Toledo, 
Ohio: University of Toledo Press, 1980), 171-208. Christopher G. 
Clark, "The Myth of Indian Aggression in Early Nebraska," Platte 
Valley Review, 14 (Spring 1986), 26-34. 

route. 2 These and other advocates pointed out that in 
1824 and 1829 the federal government had helped 
subsidize commercial traffic along the Santa Fe Trail 
to the tune of $30,000 for road improvements in east- 
ern Kansas and an equal amount for employment of 
170 infantry to escort the wagons through dangerous 
Comanche lands. 3 Despite these aberrational prece- 
dents, politicians and army administrators were not 
yet ready to invest significant portions of annual mil- 
itary budgets into trail improvements. 

The Mexican War era of 1846-1848 changed the 
nature of the debate, for now the government was 
increasingly determined to assure its authority over 
the newly- won Oregon Country and the Mexican 
Cession. Expansionist president James K. Polk had 
already recommended in his inaugural address of 
December 2, 1845 that the government create a suit- 
able number of stockades and blockhouses on the 
Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. He also called for a spe- 
cial force of mounted riflemen to patrol between 
these strongholds during the non-winter months to 
help protect civilian travelers. 4 

Authorization finally came for construction of a 
blockhouse and soldiers' quarters at Table Creek 
where present-day Nebraska City, Nebraska stands. 
Because it was located on the Missouri River and rep- 
resented the easternmost point on the Oxbow Trail 
that stretched westward to meet the Platte River at 
the western end of the Grand Island, it was deemed a 
suitable place for inexpensive resupply and a logical 
jumping off spot for emigrants headed to Oregon. 
Construction of this original Ft. Kearny began in May 
1846, but the site was quickly deemed to be too far 
east of the main Oregon Trail to be of much help to 
anyone. 5 

During September, 1847, Lt. Col. Ludwell E. 

2. Report of Secretary of War Joel R. Poinsett, in Annual 
Report of the Secretary of War [ARSW], 1840, 1-3. Report of 
Secretary of War John C. Spencer, in ARSW, 1841, 61-62. 

3. Register of Debates, 18th Congress, 2nd session, 1825, pp. 1- 
5. Otis E. Young, The First Military Escort on the Santa Fe Trail, 
1829; from the Journal and Reports of Major Bennet Riley and 
Lieutenant Philip St. George Cooke (Glendale, California: Arthur H. 
Clark Co., 1952), 15-29. 

4. James K. Polk, First Annual Message, December 2, 1845 in 
James D. Richardson, comp., A Compilation of the Messages and 
Papers of the Presidents, vol. 4 (Washington, D.C.: Government 
Printing Office, 1897), 396. 

5. Lillian M. Willman, "The History of Fort Kearny," in 
Publications of the Nebraska State Historical Society, vol. 21 (Lincoln: 
Nebraska State Historical Society, 1930), 215-223. 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journa 

Powell instructed Lt. Daniel P. Woodbury to conduct 
a reconnaissance further west on the Platte River to 
locate a more viable site. Woodbury found a good 
location on the south bank of the river which he con- 
tended was adequately equipped with wood for fuel, 
grass for haying, and water for future irrigation. He 
also remarked that it was at an ideal place for emi- 
grants who were already departing from the modern- 
day Kansas City area to intersect the Platte River near 
that juncture. 6 

The site was well chosen, but a minor debate 
erupted over whether this was the best and least ex- 
pensive method for improving the trail. Two years 
earlier, Col. Stephen Watts Kearny, who had tra- 
versed the route as far west as South Pass, Wyoming, 
had reported that the creation of fixed posts would be 
expensive and confining to the mobility of soldiers. 
Better that the permanent post idea be dispensed 
with for now, and instead a regiment of mounted 
riflemen periodically be sent up and down the trail to 
overawe the Indian tribes and maintain the peace. 7 
Perhaps Kearny's observation made some budgetary 
sense, but it was offered in 1845 before massive mi- 
gration had begun to Oregon, California and the Salt 
Lake Valley. Kearny's narrow interpretation of "pro- 
tecting the trail" also missed the obvious point that 
permanent forts could provide far more diverse ser- 
vices to overlanders than merely overawing Indians. 

A compromise plan had already been legislated 
as early as May 19, 1846, but the exigencies of the 
Mexican War had interrupted implementation of the 
concept. It authorized $76,500 for raising and equip- 
ping one regiment of mounted riflemen, but it also 
provided $3,000 for the establishment of each mili- 
tary post on the Oregon Trail, plus $2,000 to compen- 
sate tribes for transfer of lands as military reserva- 
tions. The legislation did not specify how many per- 
manent installations were to be constructed, their 
size, or how they were to be continuously funded, 
but the paucity of designated funds left some doubt 
as to the level of federal commitment. 8 

6. Lt. Daniel P. Woodbury to Col. Joseph G. Totten, 
November 10, 1847, Adjutant General's Office [AGO], Letters 
Sent, Record Group 393, Records of the Army Continental 
Commands [RACC], National Archives, reel 6, Nebraska State 
Historical Society [NSHS]. 

7. Stephen Watts Kearny, "Report of a Summer Campaign to 
the Rocky Mountains, etc. in 1845," in ARSW, 1845, 212. 

8. U.S. Statutes at Large, vol. 9 (1851), 13-14. 

Despite wartime delays, inadequate funds, an< 
continued debates over mounted riflemei 
versus fixed posts, construction began on | 
new Ft. Kearny on the Platte River, 197 miles west o 
the original namesake fort at Table Creek. Govern 
ment agents paid the Pawnees $2,000 to relinquish 
military reservation of ten square miles, and worl] 
commenced during the spring of 1848. 9 

More significant discussion emerged abou 
whether the privately-owned trading post of Ft. Lara 
mie (Ft. William) should be purchased from tho 
American Fur Company and be occupied by th< 
army, or whether a brand new post should be buill v 
somewhat west of that site. Capt. John C. Fremon 
had previously written in one of his official report: 
that the vicinity of Ft. Laramie was ideal for a mill 
tary post because it was on the Platte River line o 
overland march, influential in the widely-spread fu; 
trade, and would not interfere with the buffakf" 
ranges of the Plains tribes. 10 In 1846, celebrated his 
torian Francis Parkman traversed the area and wrote 
that troops stationed at Ft. Laramie could easily pro 
tect overlanders from the western Sioux and coulc 
help facilitate passage of the high plains region. 11 

Edwin Bryant, who had passed through the fui 
trading post on his way to California in June 1846: 
described it in a matter-of-fact way: 

"The fort," as it is called, is a quadrangle, the walls 
of which are constructed of adobes, or sun-dried 
bricks. The area enclosed is, I should suppose, 
about half or three-fourths of an acre of ground. Its 
walls are surmounted by watch-towers, and the 
gate is defended by two brass swivels. On three 
sides of the court, next to the walls, are various 
offices, storerooms, and mechanical shops. The 
other side is occupied by the main building of the 
Fort, two stories high. 12 

9. Report of Secretary of War William L. Marcy, in ARSW 
1848, 79-80. John D. Unruh, Jr., The Plains Across: The Overland 
Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-60 (Urbana 
University of Illinois Press, 1979), 207. 

10. John C Fremont, Report of the Exploring Expedition to the 
Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North 
California in the Years 1843-44 (Washington, D.C.: Gales and 
Seaton, 1845), 47. 

11. Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail (New York: Washing- 
ton Square Press edition, 1963), 90. 

12. Edwin Bryant, What I Saw in California: Being the Journal 
of a Tour, By the Emigrant Route and South Pass of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, Across the Continent of North America, the Great Desert Basin, 
and Through California, in the Years 1846, 1847 (New York: D 
Appleton and Co., 1848), 109. 

WINTER, 1997 

Most people who traversed the trail in the last 
ew years of the fort's private ownership described it 
n more emotional terms than did Bryant. Dr. William 
fhomas recorded in his journal on June 3, 1849 a pos- 
itive assessment not only of the condition of the facil- 
ties, but, also the beauty of the river and the low 
ange of green hills immediately to the northwest. He 
vas especially moved by the 
aspiring sight of the Ameri- 
an flag which flew from its 
vails. 13 Less generous was 
Vnnie Ruff, whose husband 
vas a captain among the dra- 
;oons who had been sent to 
>atrol the trail. She had been 
it the place only a short time 
luring June 1849 when she 
vrote to her mother that it "is 
he gloomiest most desolate 
ooking place I ever saw. It 
ooks exactly like a Peniten- 
iary except there are no win- 
lows on the outside." She 

\appily reported that Maj. Winslow F. Sanderson and 
fc. Daniel P. Woodbury were scouting for a better site 
ibout fifty miles west on the Platte River where the 
irmy could build a more reliable fort. 14 

Annie Ruff's hopeful prediction did not come 
rue, but the old post did gradually evolve into a con- 
iguration that partially conformed to her vision. At a 
:ost of $4,000, the U.S. Army took transfer of Ft. 
^aramie from the American Fur Company during the 
ummer of 1849, and within a few years the installa- 
tion had undergone a thorough transformation. 15 
rhe old fur trade buildings gradually fell into disuse 
is the military laid out a larger parade ground, with 
iving quarters and administrative structures dotting 
ts periphery. No protective wall was necessary 
because the size of the garrison and ever-present 
ivilian travelers made the threat of an Indian attack 
;xceedingly unlikely. It is fitting that this transfer 
ook place in exactly the same year that the California 
*old rush began. Henceforth, Fort Laramie's impor- 

"(Ft. Laramie] is the gloomiest 
most desolate looking place I 
ever saw. It looks exactly like a 
Penitentiary except there are no 
windows on the outside." 

tance on the overland trail to California, Oregon and 
Salt Lake City would increase dramatically as the 
vast throngs of people accelerated their mass move- 
ment each year. 

Ironically, companies of the Mounted Riflemen 
were already camped at the fur trade post just at the 
time of its transfer to federal ownership. Major 
Winslow F. Sanderson immedi- 
ately assigned them to cut hay 
along the river banks, harvest 
timber two miles to the north 
of Platte River, and to begin 
construction of new buildings. 
Although the Mounted Rifle- 
men Regiment would continue 
escort service as far as the Ore- 
gon Country into 1850, the 
government had now made its 
commitment to fixed posts 
rather than large mobile 
units. 16 Furthermore, some 
civilian travelers had leveled 
complaints against the Mount- 
Lucius Fairchild complained that the 
always in the way" and were "the most 
perfect nusance [sic] on the whole road. 17 Others 
such as B.R. Biddle strongly rebuked the soldiers for 
seizing the ferry boats at Mormon Ferry to move their 
supplies across the Platte River ahead of the civil- 
ians. 18 Expenses for the mounted Riflemen also made 
them unpopular with congressmen who more readi- 
ly identified the nation's expanding sovereignty with 
military posts and towns. 

ed Riflemen, 
troops were ' 


'hatever the shortcomings of military pro- 
tection on the overland trails, it quickly 
became evident that forts Kearny and 
Laramie could also provide other forms of aid to 
travelers. In May 1849, government representatives 
instructed the post commander at Ft. Kearny to hold 
out surplus commissary supplies "for the relief of 
emigrants broken down and returning to the 

13. Dr. William L. Thomas, "Diary," 9-10, unpublished man- 
iscript at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. 

14. Annie Ruff to Mary Dougherty, June 24, 1849, in Charles 
and Annie Ruff Papers, NSHS. 

15. Maj. Winslow F. Sanderson to Adjutant General Roger 
ones, June 27, 1849, AGO - Letters Sent, RACC. 

16. Report of Secretary of War George C. Crawford, in 
ARSW, 1849, 95. 

17. Joseph Schafer, ed., California Letters of Lucius Fairchild. 
Wisconsin Historical Society Publications Collections, vol. 31 
(Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1931), p. 31. 

18. Dale L. Morgan, "The Ferries of the Forty-Niners," 
Annals of Wyoming, 31 (April 1959), 22-23. 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journa 

states." 19 Such aid was already becoming essential 
because so many people had purchased wagons, 
teams and supplies from the outfitting towns of west- 
ern Missouri without fully comprehending the 
unique problems of the trail. A reporter writing 
under the pseudonym of "California" for the Missouri 
Republican had published a warning in late April. He 
contended that most supplies were readily available 
in Independence, but many of them were of inferior 
quality. Especially noteworthy were the purchases of 
old and feeble oxen and mules which were priced 
respectively at $22 per yoke and $30 per head. "Cal- 
ifornia" asked rhetorically "what men are thinking 
about, or calculating upon, when they provide them- 
selves with such teams for a journey of near two 
thousand miles is a mystery, yet hundreds are doing 
so, and then confining themselves to a team barely 
sufficient to move their wagon . ..." He warned that 
many of these would surely break down in some iso- 
lated spot where no spares or help could be found. 20 

Col. Benjamin Bonneville, commander of Ft. 
Kearny during the first summer of mass exodus, 
echoed that sentiment and reported directly to 
Adjutant General Roger Jones that greater control 
needed to be established in the Missouri outfitting 
towns. He suggested that the government, perhaps 
even the military, should provide information to 
overland novices about the best kinds of wagons and 
teams to purchase, as well as the types and quantities 
of supplies to procure. 21 

Apparently the formal advice was not given or 
heeded during the next few years as overlanders 
competed with each other in bidding wars to secure 
even the most inappropriate supplies at the outfitting 
towns. The description given by Margaret Frink of 
the great variety of wheeled vehicles approaching Ft. 
Kearny during May 1850 spoke eloquently about the 
comedy of errors: 

19. Raymond W. Settle, ed., The March of the Mounted 
Riflemen: First United States Military Expedition to Travel the Full 
Length of the Oregon Trail from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Vancouver 
May to October 1849, as Recorded in the Journals of Major Osborne 
Cross and George Gibbs and the Official Report of Colonel Loring 
(Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1940), 301. 

20. Missouri Republican, April 29, 1849. Complete listings of 
prices of various types and conditions of livestock available at 
Independence, Weston, and Westport, Missouri are given in 
Missouri Republican, April 7, 1849. 

21. Col. Benjamin L. E. Bonneville to Adj. Gen. R. Jones, July 
2, 1849, AGO - Letters Sent, RACC. 

There were all conceivable kinds of conveyances. 
There was a cart drawn by two cows, a cart drawn 
by one ox, and a man on horseback drove along an 
ox packed with his provisions and blankets. There 
was a man with a hand cart, another with a wheel 
barrow loaded with supplies. And we were not yet 
two hundred miles from the Missouri River. 22 

Others, such as Dr. Americus Powers and his wifi 
Mary, found that horses could not pull wagons on I 
daily basis even along the fairly flat terrain of th« 
Platte River Valley. They tried unsuccessfully to tradtt 
for oxen at Ft. Laramie. Only a loan of three oxen b? 
another sympathetic wagon train enabled them tc 
continue. Their horses were reduced to such pitiabh 
skeletons that Powers was forced to shoot one. 23 

The most fortunate people were those who real 
ized their mistake early in the trip and madJ 
adjustments before departing Ft. Kearny 
Harriet Sherrill Ward lamented the fact that her fam 
ily had not brought along extra livestock to replaaK 
the dead and dying animals. Yet she and her husbanc 1 
wisely threw away many non-essential items, includ 
ing one of their beds, about five days east of Ft 
Kearny. 24 Even more resourceful was Forty-Nine: 
Giles Isham who exchanged an exhausted yoke o 
oxen at the post for a healthy replacement team. The 
following summer at the fort, James Bennett traded i \ 
decrepit wagon for a stronger and heavier one. 25 

22. Margaret A. Frink, "Adventures of a Party of Gold 
Seekers," in Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from thl 
Western Trails, 1840-1890, ed. by Kenneth L. Holmes, vol. 
(Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1983), 87. S.H. Tayloi 
wrote home to Watertown, Wisconsin to publish in the loca 
newspaper his specific recommendations on types of livestock 
wagons and food to buy for the trip. Residents intending to make 
the journey depended upon this kind of newspaper information f 
as well as the guidebooks, to help make better decisions during 
the 1850s, but the problems of ignorance persisted throughou 
the era. See S. H. Taylor, "Oregon Bound, 1853: Letters of S. H 
Taylor to the Watertown [Wisconsin] Chronicles," Oregor. 
Historical Quarterly, 22 (1921), 133-134, 139-143. 

23. Mary Rockwood Powers, A Woman's Overland journal tc 
California, ed. by W.B. Thorsen (Fairfield, Washington: Ye Galleor 
Press, 1985), 25-33. 

24. Ward G. DeWitt, and Florence Stark DeWitt, Prairk 
Schooner Lady: The Journal of Harriet Sherrill Ward, 1853 (Loj 
Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1959), 63. 

25. Giles S. Isham, Guide to California and the Mines (Fairfield 
Washington: Ye Galleon Press, 1972), 14. James Bennett, Overlanc 
Journey to California: Journal of James Bennett Whose Party Left Neu 

me Platte Bridge Station at present-day Casper was one of a series of outposts established along the trail by the military 
i house troops committed to the job of protecting emigrants traveling west. (Wyoming Division of Cultural Resources) 

The problem of broken down wagons and teams 
vrhich first appeared as overlanders neared Ft. Kear- 
y was even more evident by the time they reached 
; t. Laramie. Elisha Douglass Perkins reported in the 
ummer of 1849 that his caravan wished to sell its 
argest wagon because it was too heavy for the sandy 
oil of the trail. When offered only five dollars for the 
yagon, its angry owner vowed he would burn it be- 
ore selling it at that price. Two other men of the same 
>arty were more fortunate. They were able to pur- 
hase a light French wagon for only $20 at the fort. 26 

The experiences of the Perkins wagon train epito- 
nized the anomaly in the system of supply and de- 
nand that developed at the two military installa- 
ions. Many overlanders naively assumed that they 
ould barter or sell excess goods along the trail. Yet, 
>ecause so many people were jettisoning cargo from 

iarmony in 1850 and Crossed the Plains and Mountains until the 
jolden West Was Reached (Fairfield, Washington: Ye Galleon 
'ress, 1987), 29. 

26. Elisha Douglass Perkins, Gold Rush Diary: Perkins on the 
Overland Trail in the Spring and Summer of 1849, ed. by Thomas D. 
-lark (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1967), 52. 

overloaded wagons, the amount of goods made this 
a buyer's market for most items. Dr. Caleb Ormsby 
reported in June, 1849 that prices of goods at Ft. 
Laramie were still high on flour at $1.50 per hundred 
weight and coffee at $3 per pound. Yet, horses and 
mules were in such short supply that none could be 
had at any price. On the opposite end of the spec- 
trum, tools, broken wagons, harnesses and clothing 
littered the ground in great quantities and new waves 
of emigrants worried that they might share the fate of 
their unfortunate predecessors. One party aban- 
doned an entire sawmill and its attendant equipment 
after transporting it five hundred miles to Ft. 
Laramie. Ormsby stood in awe of the virtual moun- 
tain of bacon which was stacked and scattered along 
the road near the fort. Fellow traveler John H. Benson 
estimated that as much as 2,000 pounds of bacon was 
there, and guessed that he had seen only about half of 
what had been discarded in the immediate area. 27 

27. Russell E. Bidlack, Letters Home: The Story of Ann Arbor's 
Forty-Niners, intro. by F. Clever Bald (Ann Arbor, Michigan: \nn 
Arbor Publishers, I960), 22. John H. Benson, "Journal.'' 
Unpublished manuscript at NSHS. 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journai 

Frustration produced all manner of behavior. One 
1850 emigrant party was faced with the reality of 
receiving no more than one cent per pound for their 
surplus flour and bacon, so they burned all of it as 
fuel for their campfire. 28 Another traveler recorded 
that tempers flared over the apparent lack of resale 
value of food, so the owners maliciously destroyed 
the food surplus rather than turning it over to other 
destitute families. In the same vein, C. W. Smith wit- 
nessed two men throw their rifles into the Platte 
River after they were unable to sell them. They were 
determined that no one would profit from their 
loss. 29 

Not all the stories had such dreadful endings 
because in many cases overlanders willingly 
helped the less fortunate along the trail. 
Some parties such as the Buckeye Rovers were virtu- 
ally contracted together by long-standing friendships 
to look out for each other from the beginning of their 
1849 excursion from Ohio to California. When one 
member of the group lost eight oxen to a single bolt 
of lightning, his compatriots replaced the animals 
from their own livestock and without complaint. 
During the same summer, other wagon trains will- 
ingly helped two forlorn young men make their way 
eastward across the Plains. The two had given up 
their California trek and now, with worn out mules 
and virtually no supplies, they lived off the charity of 
wagon trains that they encountered on the outbound 
leg of the trip. Despite no possibility of regaining 
later compensation from the young men, generous 
strangers helped facilitate their return to 
Indianapolis. 30 

Private charity, however, was not enough to res- 
cue many of the emigrants from their worst folly. 
Commanding officers at military posts always had 

28. Howard Stansbury, An Expedition to the Valley of the Great 
Salt Lake of Utah (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co., 
1852), 30. 

29. Susan Badger Doyle and Donald E. Buck, eds., The 1849 
California Trail Diaries of Elijah Preston Howell (Independence, 
Missouri: Oregon-California Trails Association, 1995), 34. C. W. 
Smith, Journal of a Trip to California — Across the Continent from 
Weston, Missouri, to Weber Creek, California in the Summer of 1850, 
edited by R. W. G. Vail (Fairfield, Washington: Ye Galleon Press, 
1974), 42. 

30. Howard L. Scarnehorn, ed., The Buckeye Rovers in the Gold 
Rush (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1965), 26-27. Alonzo 
Delano, Life on the Plains and Among the Diggings (Auburn and 
Buffalo, New York: Miller, Orton and Mulligan, 1854), 67. 

some discretion to help civilians whose safety and 
welfare were threatened by disastrous circumstances 
But with the advent of the 1849 California gold rush 
army orders broadened these discretionary powers 
along all the western trails. During that year 
Congress authorized the War Department to sell alj 
cost pistols, rifles and ammunition to overlanders sc 
that they could provide for their own protection 
Unfortunately, this proved to be something of an 
empty gesture since the army rarely had enough) 
modern arms to supply its own soldiers. 31 

More significantly, the commanders at forts 
Kearny and Laramie kept meticulous records on theiii 
food supplies so that they could release whatever 
was considered excess to truly desperate civilians 1 
Often the ranking officer had to evoke the wisdom ol 
Solomon to distinguish between the numerous plead-l 
ings presented to him. A three-tiered system of aio 
gradually developed on the frontier, completely sep- 
arate from any official policy generated in Washing 
ton, D.C. At the highest level, the commander gave 
food to the most needy of all travelers, those whosei 
very lives rested on this courtesy. No return paymen 
was expected from these people who often were 
headed east in dejection and without attachment to e 
wagon train. A second level of help was granted tc 
people who had to sign promissory notes of repay- 
ment, even though the majority probably never re- 
paid the loan. The third and most frequently utilizecjc 
level went to persons who were deemed needy bu 
not desperate. The senior officer authorized them tc 
purchase discounted food items from the post com 
missary as long as they paid cash for their share o 
the deal. 32 These subsidized amounts had to be 
absorbed by existing military budgets and coulc 
often work great hardship on a post if the comman 
der was too generous. At the West Texas crossroads o: 
Ft. Davis, which served one of the primary southerr 
trails to California, this liberality resulted in censun 
for the commander during an official inspection ir 
1856. Inspector General Joseph K.F. Mansfield strong 

31. Unruh, Plains Across, 229. 

32. Unruh, Plains Across, 229. D. Ray Wilson, Fort Kearny or 
the Platte (Dundee, Illinois: Crossroads Communications, 1980) 
33. Merrill J. Mattes, The Great Platte River Road: The Coverei 
Wagon Mainline Via Fort Kearny to Fort Laramie, Publications of the A 
Nebraska State Historical Society, vol. 25 (Lincoln: Nebrask; 
State Historical Society, 1969), 514-515. 

Winter, 1997 

y questioned the $42,099 spent that year to feed des- 
itute overlanders and to repair their wagons. 33 

At the far western end of the trail a potential 
ragedy unfolded during the summer of 1849 along 
he supposed shortcut known as Lassen Cutoff into 
\orthern -California. Graphic reports reached the gold 
amps by August that thousands of people were 
>acked up along the route with winter fast approach- 
ng in the Sierra Nevadas. General Persifor F. Smith, 
nilitary governor of California, authorized an imme- 
liate government relief fund of $100,000, and this 
vas supplemented by several thousand dollars pro- 
vided in Calif ornians' private donations. Maj. Daniel 
m. Rucker oversaw the relief operations which may 
lave prevented a repeat of the ill-fated Dormer Party 
hree years earlier. 34 


lthough most travelers reached forts Kearny 
and Laramie with some deficiencies in their 
supplies and livestock, they were not truly 
iestitute or facing a life and death situation. Since 
:hey did not fit within the three emergency cate- 
gories, they had to rely on the post sutler for addi- 
ional items. The contents of these stores occupied 
zonsiderable attention within their diaries, and most 
}f their assessments were harsh. Many resented the 
nonopolistic position of the post sutler because he 
leld a government contract to be the only commer- 
:ial establishment on the military reservation. 35 

The most persistent complaint was that the sut- 
lers charged emigrants exorbitant amounts for even 
he most common of items. Overlanders such as 
Elisha Douglass Perkins found it especially galling 
that sutlers would buy only a few goods from the 
desperate civilians, while marking up the prices of 
goods they sold back to the wagon trains. He doubt- 
ed that any eastern merchants could profit as much 
as these non-competitive sutlers. 36 In the following 
year of 1850, Eleazar Ingalls declared that the Ft. 
Laramie sutler doubled his priced on just about every 

33. Barry Scobee, Fort Davis, Texas, 1583-1960 (El Paso: Hill, 
1963), 16-17. 

34. Doyle and Buck, eds., California Trail Diaries, xix-xx. 

35. Lyle E. Mantor, "Fort Kearny and the Westward Move- 
ment," Nebraska History, 29 (September 1948), 203. Lewis E. 
Atherton, "The Merchant Sutler in the Pre-Civil War Period," 
Southwestern Social Science Quarterly, 19 (September 1938), 140- 

36. Perkins, Gold Rush Diary, 29. 

item when compared to the cost of goods in the 
Missouri outfitting towns. Another unidentified trav- 
eler estimated that the sutler's mark-up was four 
times the normal price, and yet when he bought 
items from overlanders, his payment was only about 
ten percent of the real value of the item. 37 

Some people recorded well-stocked shelves of 
canned foods, cigars, sardines, sugar, flour, tea, cof- 
fee, liquor, salt, medicines, notions and even a selec- 
tion of watch crystals. 38 But the ready supply of 
goods changed quickly during each trail season and 
those people who passed through the forts later in 
the summer often found depleted stocks and higher 
prices. Some also received unpleasant surprises with 
the items that they purchased. Helen Carpenter 
recalled buying a block of cheese at Ft. Kearny only to 
find out that it "should have been 'mustered' out 
long ago, it is too old to be in the service. One mere 
taste took the skin off the end of my tongue." 39 A 
worse fate befell Italian nobleman Count Leonetto 
Cipriani whose eleven-wagon party purchased one 
thousand pounds of flour at the same place in 1853. 
By the time they reached Ash Hollow and began to 
break into these food stocks, they found it crawling 
with worms. 40 

Even though many army sutlers made sizable for- 
tunes in their monopolistic enterprises, and even 
Capt. Charles Ruff worked behind the scenes to cre- 
ate a sutler partnership between himself and famed 
Missouri traders Robert Campbell and John 
Dougherty, not everyone felt so oppressed by them. 41 
One member of the "Wolverine Rangers" from 
Marshall, Michigan concluded that the assertions of 

37. Eleazar Stillman Ingalls, Journal of a Trip to California by 
the Overland Route Across the Plains in 1850-51 (Fairfield, 
Washington: Ye Galleon Press, 1979), 36. John Phillip Reid, Law 
for the Elephant: Property and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail 
(San Marino, California: Huntington Library, 1980), 109n. 

38. Owen Cochran Coy, The Great Trek of Dr. E. A. Tompkins 
(Los Angeles: Powell Publishing Co., 1931), 140. Perkins, Gold 
Rush Diary, 29. William H. Woodhams, "Journals: 1852-1853 New 
York to San Francisco by Ship: 1854 St. Joseph to California 
Overland." Unpublished manuscript at NSHS, n.p. (entry of May 
26, 1854). 

39. Helen Carpenter, "A Trip Across the Plains in an Ox 
Wagon, 1857," in Ho for California! Women 's Overland Diaries from 
the Huntington Library (San Marino, California: Huntington 
Library, 1980), 105. 

40. Mattes, Great Platte River Road, 204. 

41. Charles Ruff to John Dougherty June 24, 1849, and 
Charles Ruff to John Dougherty, February 7, 1850, in Charles and 
Annie Ruff Papers, NSHS. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

high sutler prices were greatly exaggerated in 1849, 
and he found most items to be fairly priced. Several 
Mormons who were headed east to escort more 
Saints to Salt Lake City commented in the same sum- 
mer how helpful the Ft. Kearny officers were, espe- 
cially in their sale of goods at considerably cheaper 
prices than the American Fur Company agent had 
charged two years earlier. 42 Estimates of fairness and 
unfairness were measured in the eyes of the behold- 
er, but army sutlers were united in their efforts, to 
show why their goods cost more than those in eastern 
stores. Their high freight rates, spoilage rate, storage 
problems, and relatively brief trading season to over- 
landers drove up their costs of doing business. 
Likewise, they would not have survived financially 
had they purchased every broken-down wagon, 
oxen, trunk or supply of bacon that each traveler was 
trying to unload. The sutler, no matter how much 
maligned in some journals, served as an important 
agent in facilitating people's passage across the Great 

Beyond the issuance of commissary supplies 
and sale of sutler goods to overlanders, the sec- 
ond biggest military contribution to trail devel- 
opment was in medical care. As with supplies, the 
extension of army hospital facilities was at the discre- 
tion of the fort commander and his surgeon. Cholera 
was a recurring problem which was especially viru- 
lent between 1849 and 1854, and it killed more civil- 
ians than any other single cause. Because most peo- 
ple contracted the disease in the Missouri River 
towns, they began to show the first symptoms just as 
their wagons were stretched out east of Ft. Kearny, 
and the epidemic's ferocity was usually spent before 
they reached South Pass, Wyoming. 43 Thus forts 
Kearny and Laramie stood at the apex position of the 
highest mortality rate on the trail. 

Ft. Laramie sutlers John S. Tutt and Lewis B. 
Dougherty ran an advertisement in an 1849 St. 
Joseph, Missouri newspaper indicating a large sup- 

ply of medicines and an army surgeon committed to t 
helping ill civilians at all times. Englishman Henry J. | 
Coke found exactly this kind of humane treatment at] 
Ft. Laramie during the following year when he I 
received paregoric, opium pills and powders to ward! 
off dysentery and cholera. 44 Sometimes the number L 
of ill civilians exceeded the facilities available in the ! 
small post hospitals. During one especially difficult 1 
period in the summer of 1852, the hospitals at both 
forts were overwhelmed by cholera patients, and 
some of the civilians were placed in the regular bar- 
racks while soldiers camped beyond the parade 
ground in tents. Those who did not survive the epi- 
demics were buried in the post cemetery — civilian 
and soldier alike. 45 

Medical help also was extended for other kinds of 
injuries. The surgeon at Ft. Kearny treated a man's 
badly injured eye and charged him only two dollars 
for the treatment. Another unfortunate, severely 
wounded by the accidental discharge of a gun, was 
successfully treated after his friends brought him» 
back from a point several days travel to the west. 46 A 
member of the "Wolverine Rangers" was left at Ft. 
Kearny by his compatriots because his knee was so 
shattered by an errant shot that he had no chance of f 
continuing the trip to California. In another case, the 
Ft. Kearny surgeon amputated the badly-infected I 
arm of an overlander who had been bitten by a rat- 
tlesnake. Two other men run over by wagons also 
found care in the hospital during the same month. 47 

Sometimes medicines and bandages were nott 
enough to treat the ailments of certain overlanders. 
Maj. Osborne Cross discovered a man abandoned by 
his wagon train near Chimney Rock. The unfortunate 
soul seemed deranged and would surely have per- 
ished had the soldiers not escorted him to Ft. Laramie 
for care by the post physician. During that same sum- 
mer of 1849, the Boston-Newton party came across a 
naked and badly sunburned man just west of Ft. 
Laramie. Despite his seeming insanity and dehydra- 

42. The Gold Rush: Letters from the Wolverine Rangers to the 
Marshall, Michigan Statesman, 1849-1851 (Mount Pleasant, 
Michigan: Cumming Press, 1974), 46. LeRoy R. Hafen, and 
Francis Marion Young, Fort Laramie and the Pageant of the West, 
1834-1890 (Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1938), 155. 

43. Richard L. Rieck, "A Geography of Death on the Oregon 
and California Trails, 1840-1860," Overland Journal, 9 (no. 1, 1991), 

44. Unruh, Plains Across, 229. Henry J. Coke. A Ride Over the 
Rocky Mountains to Oregon and California (London: Richard 
Bentley, 1852), 158. 

45. Unruh, Plains Across, 229-230. Mattes, Great Platte River 
Road, 513. 

46. Reid, Law for the Elephant, 122. Bennett, Overland Journey 
to California, 29. 

47. The Gold Rush, 45. Unruh, Plains Across, 229. Bidlack, 
Letters Home, 22. • ' 

Winter, 1997 


tion from diarrhea, he foiled their elaborate attempts 
to capture and take him to the fort. 48 

Two months later, Capt. John S. Perry escorted the 
military supply train from Ft. Laramie to Missouri. 
Within the wagons he carried a number of sick and 
disabled- emigrants who had been treated at the fort. 
He also carried the personal effects of some who had 
died. Despite frequent medical and relief aid for 
embattled overlanders, officers could sometimes 
become victims of their own kindness. Annie Ruff 
witnessed soldiers rescuing a widow and her four 
children near Courthouse Rock. The woman had lost 
her husband and two children to cholera, and three of 
the survivors were ill with the disease. The officers 
provided her with every assistance — food, medi- 
cines and drivers — but she proved her ingratitude 
by bribing two civilian teamsters to desert the mili- 
tary column and pilot her wagon. 49 

Because wagons and their teams were among 
the most crucial elements in making a western 
trek, blacksmithing and carpentry services pro- 
vided at the isolated forts proved of inestimable 
value to many people. Though both posts employed 
a blacksmith from their inception to perform military 
tasks, these craftsmen found their labors over- 
whelmed by the time of the California gold rush. 
During the summer of 1850, Assistant Quartermaster 
Stewart Van Vliet requested that the War Department 
authorize $5,000 to expand Ft. Laramie blacksmithing 
services to meet the increased civilian demands. He 
recommended construction of a blacksmith shop 
with two forges, plus a wagon maker's shop employ- 
ing a carpenter. Van Vliet doubted that there would 
be any ongoing cost for this because overlanders 
would gladly pay for these essential services. The 
plan was not approved, and when Lucena Parsons 
reached there two months later, she found the black- 
smith too busy to accept any more jobs. 50 

To get around the labor problem, forts Kearny 

and Laramie began to rent their forges and black- 
smithing equipment so that overlanders could make 
some of their own repairs. This do-it-yourself 
approach seemed to work well for people who had 
the necessary skills, but even this flexible system did 
not guarantee speedy attention for the perpetually 
long line of wagons. Civilians could shoe livestock, 
repair and cut down wagons, replace wheels, manu- 
facture simple tools, and overhaul other equip- 
ment. 51 Some overland companies avoided the 
alleged high cost and delays of fort blacksmiths and 
carpenters by relying on skilled craftsmen within 
their own ranks. Sarah Royce's wagon train con- 
tained its own blacksmith, and had seen fit to carry 
tools and supply of hardwood and metal to address 
its own needs. Likewise, Margaret Frink's party con- 
tained an experienced man who was able to salvage 
a good axle from a wagon which had broken down 
near Ash Hollow. He removed the axle and used it to 
replace the one which had bent on his own wagon. 
The demand for skilled artisans at the forts never 
seemed to decline during the peak years of the over- 
land trails, and by 1860 a passerby could report "sev- 
eral blacksmith shops" at or very near Ft. Laramie. 
Those reported as "nearby" were privately-owned 
shops located outside of the official military reserva- 
tion. 52 

Because the Great Plains appeared to stretch out 
forever for emigrants progressing at a rate of 
only twelve to fifteen miles per day, forts 
Kearny and Laramie seemed like oases in the middle 
of nowhere. Isolated though these communities were, 
they provided the argonauts with another important 
tie to the East — communication facilities. During the 
summer of 1849, Ft. Kearny commander Benjamin 
Bonneville requested that the Postmaster General 
establish regular mail delivery at his post. He 
remarked that sending army mail by irregular supply 
trains had resulted in considerable problems with 
lost and delayed letters. If Fort Kearny could be 

48. Settle, March of the Mounted Riflemen, 75. Jessie Gould 
Harmon, The Boston-Newton Company Venture: From Massachusetts 
to California in 1849 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1969), 

49. Bidlack, Letters Home, 54. Annie Ruff to Mary Dougherty, 
June 24, 1849, in Charles and Annie Ruff Papers, NSHS. 

50. Hafen and Young, Fort Laramie, 165-166. Lucena Parsons, 
"An Overland Honeymoon," in Covered Wagon Women, ed. by 
Kenneth L. Holmes, vol. 2 (Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark 
Co., 1983), 255. 

51. Mattes, Great Platte River Road, 205. 

52. Sarah Royce, A Frontier Lady: Recollections of the Gold Rush 
and Early California, ed. by Ralph Henry Gabriel (New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1932), 21. Frink, "Adventures of a Party," 
94. Mary Jane Guill, "The Overland Diary of a Journey from 
Livingston County, Missouri, to Butte County California (I860)." 
Unpublished manuscript at California State Library, Sacramento, 
p. 5. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal | 

In addition to emigrants traveling by wagon or handcart, the Overland stage company carried passengers along the trail. 
Protection for this coach was provided by a unit of black soldiers (Wyoming Division of Cultural Resources) 

established as an official post office under the charge 
of sutler Lewis B. Dougherty, he expected that mili- 
tary and civilian needs alike could be handled more 
judiciously. 53 

By the following year, the Post Office Department 
had established a contract with Samuel A. Woodson 
to deliver and receive monthly mail between 
Independence, Missouri and Salt Lake City, via Ft. 
Kearny. In 1858, the service became weekly, thus vir- 
tually eliminating the need for special army couriers 
for the first time. During the short life of the Pony 
Express, from April 1860 to October 1861, forts 
Kearny and Laramie served as important division 
stations for the unique express mail operation. 
Throughout the 1850s, overlanders not only deposit- 
ed outgoing letters at both posts, they also picked up 
mail which was sent to the two general military 
addresses by eastern friends and relatives. 54 No other 
official post offices existed along that immense sec- 

53. Col. Benjamin Bonneville to Postmaster General, June 4, 
1849, AGO - Letters Sent, RACC. 

54. Mantor, "Fort Kearny/' 191-195. Hafen and Young, Ft. 
Laramie, 171-173, 265-271. 

tion of the Platte River, though travelers sometimes 1 
entrusted letters to freighters headed east, or deposit- 
ed them with the private traders at Scott's Bluff or 
west of Ft. Laramie. There was no guarantee of deliv- 
ery by these methods, and unlike at the post offices in 
the forts, there was no way to receive mail at these 
private trading establishments. 55 By mid-1861, tele- 
graph services also had been established at the forts 
to carry military and civilian messages. These posti 
and telegraph offices, which often shared facilities,, 
became popular gathering points for emigrants eager 
to maintain connections with families and friends at 
the time when they felt most isolated from the East. 56 
Attendant to these advances in communications, 
the army frequently made improvements to the trails 
themselves. Special units of the Army Corps of Topo- 
graphical Engineers were particularly active during 
the 1850s as they laid out new trails to supplement 

55. Ingalls, "Journal of a Trip," 27. William Richard Brown, 
An Authentic Wagon Train Journal of 1853 from Indiana to California 
(Mokelumne Hill, California: Horseshoe Printing, 1985), 36. 

56 Mantor, "Fort Kearny," 195-200. Hafen and Young, Ft. 
Laramie, 305-306. Doyle and Buck, California Trail Diaries, 16. 

Winter, 1997 


Ihe primary transcontinental routes. The Central 
Route along the Platte River received more than its 
share of attention, including a $50,000 appropriation 
for improvements along the Mormon Trail from 
Omaha to Ft. Kearny. This 1856 survey by Lt. John H. 
Dickerson shortened the route by twenty-six miles. 
Other units made similar improvements on the west- 
ern end of the Oregon Trail when, in 1857, soldiers 
graded the road, laid down wood planking, and built 
timber braces to prevent rock slides in the mountain- 
ous stretch between forts Dalles and Vancouver. In 
1857, Congress appropriated $300,000 in an ambi- 
tious effort to modernize the Fort Kearny, South Pass 
and Honey Lake Wagon Road to California. Al- 
though primarily built by civilian contract labor, this 
shorter route was clearly based on a military plan 
and partial military labor. 57 

Because all of the western trails served a military 
mission, enlisted men worked as the primary labor 
force for clearing large boulders, reducing steep 
grades, and damming up necessary water holes 
along the roads. They sometimes received additional 
compensation for special jobs, but for the most part 
this type of manual labor was considered part of their 
soldierly duties. Even after the roadway had been 
completed, army personnel still had to maintain it, 
and this necessitated continuous field work for virtu- 
ally all infantry companies even to the end of the 
frontier era. Busy army construction crews of the 
1850s might well have understood Col. Zachary 
Taylor's 1820 observation that "the ax, pick, saw and 
trowel, has become more the implement of the 
American soldier than the cannon, musket, or 
sword." 58 

Along with physical improvements on the roads, 
military labor crews built bridges and operated fer- 
ries at key river crossings. A crude ferry consisting of 
several canoes lashed together did exist at Ft. Lara- 
mie during the final years of ownership by the Amer- 
ican Fur Company. But the army needed a larger and 
more reliable means of transporting heavy loads 

57. Unruh, Plains Across, 235-236. W. Turrentine Jackson, 
Wagon Roads West: A Study of Federal Road Surveys and Con- 
struction in the Trans-Mississippi West, 1846-1869 (Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 1952), 167-172. 

58. Quoted in Francis Paul Prucha, Broadax and Bayonet: The 
Role of the United States Army in the Development of the Northwest, 
1815-1860 (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1953), 

from one side of the Platte River to the other. By the 
summer of 1850, soldiers had established a substan- 
tial ferry at that point, but it sank within two months 
due to an overload of horses. 59 A replacement was 
soon open for brisk business, and its profits were 
directed into a fund for creation of a post library and 
other social improvements. Within two years a toll 
bridge was fully operational. Charges were $2 per 
wagon with four yoke of oxen and twenty-five cents 
for each additional yoke. By 1864, a replacement 
bridge commanded a toll of $3 per wagon. 60 

Because the Platte River crossing at Ft. Kearny 
was relatively shallow and its meandering channels 
made it too wide for bridge construction, the War 
Department did not authorize a bridge or ferry there. 
Yet, many people crossed from the north bank on 
horseback to deliver or pick up mail at the post and 
to purchase goods in the sutler's store. As early as 
1849, George Gibbs, a civilian naturalist traveling 
with the Mounted Riflemen, observed that the gov- 
ernment should build a number of bridges across 
rivers and streams between forts Leavenworth and 
Kearny to help facilitate movement of wagon 
trains. 61 Although soldiers did erect a few small 
bridges over the smaller creeks of Kansas and 
Nebraska, the major bridges and ferries across more 
substantial rivers such as the Big Blue, Little Blue, 
Wood and Elkhorn were built by private interests 
which charged tolls. Beyond Ft. Laramie, important 
river crossings such as Mormon Ferry, Reshaw's 
(Richard's) Bridge, and Mountain Men's Ferry were 
also managed by independent businessmen who fre- 
quently made handsome profits. 62 

59. William J. Pleasants, Twice Across the Plains 1849 and 1856 
(Fairfield, Washington: Ye Galleon Press, 1981), 27. Hafen and 
Young, Tort Laramie, 159-160. 

60. Ingalls, Journal of a Trip, 36. Origen Thomson, Crossing the 
Plains, Narrative of the Scenes, Incidents and Adventures Attending 
the Overland Journey of the Decatur and Rush County Emigrants to 
the "Far Off " Oregon, in 1852 (Fairfield, Washington: Ye Galleon 
Press, 1983), 37. Elizabeth Lee Porter, "Iowa to Oregon, 1864," in 
Covered Wagon Women, ed. by Kenneth L. Holmes, vol. 9 
(Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1990), 22. 

61. Settle, March of the Mounted Riflemen, 289. 

62. Sarah Sutton, "A Travel Diary in 1854," in Covered Wagon 
Women, ed. by Kenneth L. Holmes, vol. 7 (Glendale, California: 
Arthur H. Clark Co., 1988), 46. William K. Sloan, "Auto- 
biography of William K. Sloan," Annals of Wyoming, 4 (July 1926), 
245-246. Mary Burrell, "Council Bluffs to California, 1854," in 
Covered Wagon Women, ed. by Kenneth L. Holmes, vol, (-> 
(Glendale, California: Arthur H.Clark Co., 1986), 233. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

The army's physical improvements to the over- 
land trails were subjects of considerable atten- 
tion in journals and diaries, but less frequent 
were accounts of cooperation between civilians and 
soldiers in the maintenance of law and order. This 
unique spirit of cooperation was necessitated by the 
absence of regular courts and lawmen to administer 
justice in this remote country. To fill the void, officers 
occasionally used their own discretion to arrest, hold 
and transport to eastern 
authorities those persons who 
had committed major crimes 
along the trail. Unfortunately, 
these military officers had no 
legal jurisdiction to confine 
civilians without a special 
court order, and they risked a 
possible lawsuit every time 
they did so. 63 Maj. Osborne 
Cross worried about this 
potentiality when he arrested 
several larcenous teamsters 
and turned them over to the 
commander at Ft. Laramie. The 
latter, lacking clear authority to 

hold the men, released them after several days of con- 
finement and they continued their pattern of stealing 
from overland parties. A more effective use of discre- 
tion occurred at Ft. Kearny in 1864 when four travel- 
ers killed a man from Indiana, threatened his wife if 
she told anyone, and took control of his livestock as if 
nothing had happened. Another member of the 
wagon train informed the post commander of the 
heinous crime, and he sent soldiers to arrest the cul- 
prits. After unearthing the remains of the victim and 
taking testimony from bystanders, they returned the 
prisoners to the fort for transfer to a civil court. 64 

One of the most bizarre cases of military cooper- 
ation with members of a wagon train came in 1850 
when two couples quarreled and one man shot the 
other. Witnesses pursued the shooter for several 
miles across the Plains before apprehending him. 
Following a trial and guilty verdict among members 

Officers . . . used their own dis- 
cretion to arrest, hold and 
transport to eastern authorities 
those . . . who had committed 
major crimes along the trail. 

of the train, they turned the man over to authorities 
at Ft. Laramie for transfer to a Missouri court. While 
under military escort he made his escape, and three 
years later the two adversaries who had met in dead- 
ly combat on the Plains were partners in a blacksmith 
shop in Hangtown, California. The two women had 
since married soldiers at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. 65 
Frequently, army officers served as arbitrators to 
settle civil questions among members of wagon 
trains. In 1850, the comman- 
der of Ft. Laramie arrested 
and fined the leader of a train 
because he had not lived up to 
terms of a contract signed 
with a member of the party. 
That same year, John Hale 
lodged a formal complaint 
with the commander at Ft. 
Laramie against three of his 
partners who had merged 
their meager funds to buy a 
mule team, wagon and sup- 
plies. Since leaving Inde- 
pendence, Missouri, Hale had 
a falling out with his partners 
over the slowness of their daily progress. He asked I 
that the army officer make a division of the commu- 
nal property so that he could join a faster moving car- 
avan. The officer heard the case and agreed that Hale 
was entitled to his share of the resources after they 
were sold at auction. Although the decision pleased I 
Hale in theory, he was not happy that he had to buy 
back the two poorest mules with his share of the auc- 
tion proceeds. 66 

The mutual law enforcement activities of soldiers 
and civilians sometimes led to even closer coopera- 
tion in the actual apprehension of offenders. When, in 
1849, four deserters from the Mounted Riflemen 
robbed an emigrant of $200 and raped his wife, sol- 
diers pursued the men. Because of assistance given 
by other overlanders, they captured the felons on^ 
Green River, and the offenders were subsequently 
tried at Ft. Laramie under military law. Several weeks 

63. Henry P. Walker, "When the Law Wore Army Blue," 
Military Collector and Historian, 29 (spring 1977), 7. 

64. Settle, March of the Mounted Riflemen, 100. Lucretia 
Lawson Epperson, "A Journal of Our Trip, 1864," in Covered 
Wagon Women, ed. by Kenneth L. Holmes, vol. 8 (Glendale, 
California: Arthur W. Clark Co., 1989), 169. 

65. D. A. Shaw, Eldorado, or California As Seen By a Pioneer, 
1850-1900 (Los Angeles: B. R. Baumgardt and Co., 1900), 32-33. j 

66. S. L. Grow, "Journal." Unpublished manuscript at thej 
Beinecke Library, Yale University. John Hale, California As It Is: 
Description of a Tour by the Overland Route and South Pass of the 1 
Rocky Mountains (Rochester, New York: W. Heughes, 1851), 5-14: 

Winter, 1997 


earlier Maj. Osborne Cross arrested an overlander for 
the alleged theft of two army mules. Military and 
civilian representatives alike held a "mock court- 
martial" for the suspect, found him guilty, and threat- 
ened to hang him. As by prearranged plan, they 
allowed -the convicted man to "escape" while they 
fired their guns to hasten his speedy departure. On 
other occasions, the army's offer of $200 bounty for 
the apprehension of military deserters helped spark 
further cooperation between officers and civilians. 
Whether motivated by civic duty or monetary 
reward, overlanders were more likely to surrender 
deserters than to harbor them. 67 

Other acts of kindness and cooperation came 
not in official military orders, but in highly 
personalized and informal ways. When Dr. 
Caleb Ormsby was forced to sell one of his wagons at 
Ft. Laramie before continuing his journey to 
California, he loaded four large trunks with clothing 
and personal effects to send back to his Michigan 
home. Capt. John S. Perry, who had befriended the 
doctor during the latter 's brief stay at the post, 
agreed to send the trunks free of charge via the next 
army supply train. 68 Likewise, the junior surgeon at 
Ft. Laramie arranged for Elisha Douglass Perkins to 
procure a badly needed canteen when none were 
available for purchase or issue. Because both men 
were brothers of the Independent Order of Odd Fel- 
lows and shared a number of common interests, the 
junior surgeon coaxed a canteen from a soldier and 
made it a gift to his new friend. These associations 
and acts of personal kindness went both ways such as 
when Forty-Niner Sterling Clark disposed of his 
book collection at Ft. Kearny by giving it to Capt. 
George McLane and Capt. Charles Ruff. 69 

The army also provided part-time employment to 
some overlanders who lacked the resources or incli- 
nation to continue their westward journey. At Ft. 
Kearny, Maj. Robert B. Reynolds, quartermaster to 
one of the army supply trains, hired James Mason 
Hutchings as carpenter-mechanic. In return for his 
skilled services, Hutchings received a wage, rations 

67. Unruh, Plains Across, 231 and 463. Settle, March of the 
Mounted Riflemen, 325-326. 

68. Bidlack, Letters Home, 21-22. 

69. Perkins, Gold Rush Diary, 53. Sterling B. F. Clark, How 
Many Miles from St fo? The Log of Sterling B. F. Clark, a Forty-Niner 
(Fairfield, Washington: Ye Galleon Press, 1988), 12. 

and free transportation. Although pleased with the 
job and proud of his civilian contribution to the army, 
he declined a later offer to extend his tenure. At Ft. 
Laramie, Capt. Charles Ruff and his wife Annie hired 
an emigrant family in 1849 to cook and wash for 
them. They found the woman to be "smart, manag- 
ing and obliging," well worth the room and board 
and one dollar per week that she was paid. Her hus- 
band, in marked contrast, was deemed by Annie to 
be the "slowest moving, laziest man, I ever saw." 70 
More lucrative were the monthly salaries of the fol- 
lowing civilians at Ft. Kearny in 1853: blacksmith 
($50), carpenter ($50), wagon master ($75), inter- 
preters ($50), and teamsters ($30). Some among these 
were recruited directly from the ranks of skilled men 
from the wagon trains. 71 

From their inception, forts Kearny and Laramie 
were designed as long-term improvements on 
the Central Route. Not surprisingly then, com- 
manders experimented with a twenty-year cycle of 
agriculture to raise food for soldiers and overlanders 
alike, as well as to promote settlement of the Great 
Plains. As early as June, 1849, Col. Benjamin Bonne- 
ville wrote to the Adjutant General that the govern- 
ment should expand its commitment to the emigra- 
tion process by creating farms at the various Platte 
River crossings. He said small squads of soldiers 
could protect the farms, overlanders could be hired to 
tend them, and they could quickly become self-sup- 
porting. 72 The day before Bonneville penned this 
report, naturalist George Gibbs observed that several 
overlanders had already ended their westward 
migration and were preparing to put in crops near Ft. 
Kearny. Maj. Osborne Cross noted the same occur- 
rence and concluded that, given enough time and 
experimentation, "not only vegetables may be raised 
in abundance, but grain of every description." 73 
Initial success with the post farm, five miles west 

70. Shirley Sargent, ed., Seeking the Elephant, 1849: lames 
Mason Hutchings' journal of His Overland Trek to California, 
Including His Voyage to America, IS4S and Letters from the Mother 
Lode (Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Co.,' 1980), 109-110. 
Annie Ruff to Mary Dougherty June 24, 1849, in Charles and 
Annie Ruff Papers, NSHS. 

71. Fort Kearny, Post Returns for November 1853, in Office 
of Adjutant General, reel 2, NSI IS. 

72. Benjamin Bonneville to Adj. Gen. Roger Jones, Juno 2, 
1849, AGO - Letters Sent, RACC. 

73. Settle, March of the Mounted Riflemen, 304 and 58. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

of Ft. Kearny, gave way to partial failure by August. 
The post farmer reported that the corn crop was pro- 
gressing nicely, but efforts to raise barley, rye, oats 
and potatoes had suffered because of the "thin 
soil." 74 Anecdotal comments in overlanders' journals 
throughout the 1850s and '60s reveal there was no 
consistent pattern of agricultural production at either 
of the forts. Sufficient rains produced bumper crops, 
but cycles of aridity could come just as quickly and 
leave only a parched landscape. 75 Military comman- 
ders learned that food supplies shipped from the 
Missouri River towns were still essential to feeding 
soldiers and overlanders. Army experimentation, 
especially with corn and wheat, pointed the way for 
a later agricultural revolution on the Plains, but that 
transformation would come decades later with the 
availability of new technology and a generous Home- 
stead Act to lure farmers by the tens of thousands. 

Although military agricultural experimenta- 
tion did not solve the food problems along 
the Central Route, forts often helped spur the 
creation of nearby towns which aided the overland 
migration. This is especially true of Ft. Kearny which 
gave rise to two civilian centers by the early 1850s — 
Dogtown (Valley City) to the east, and Dobytown 
(Kearney City) to the west. Because federal law disal- 
lowed any commercial establishments on a military 
reservation, these communities sprang up just 
beyond the jurisdictional confines of the fort com- 
mander. The two towns probably would have devel- 
oped anyway to serve the soldier economy, but the 
presence of so many overlanders assured rapid 
growth for one of the two. Dogtown, named for its 
large prairie dog village, never matured beyond 
approximately a dozen buildings. For awhile it 
housed a swing station on the stagecoach line, a post 
office, and a general store, but the main overland traf- 
fic arriving from the southeast generally passed it by 
and pushed on to Ft. Kearny. 76 

74. Robert H. Chilton to Adj. Gen. R. Jones, August 23, 1849, 
in Office of Adjutant General - Letters Sent, RACC. 

75. Parsons, "Overland Honeymoon," 246. Stansbury, 
Expedition to Great Salt Lake, 53. Louis C. Butscher, ed., "An 
Account of Adventures in the Great American Desert By His 
Royal Highness, Duke Paul Wilhelm Von Wurttemberg," New 
Mexico Historical Review, 17 (1942), 199-201. Epperson, "Journal of 
Our Trip," 168-169. 

76. Mattes, Great Platte River Road, 33. Harriet Hitchcock, 
"Thoughts by the Way, 1864-1865/' in Covered Wagon Women, ed. 

Dobytown offered a better location two miles J] 
from the fort and a larger collection of buildings for 
the stage line. In 1859, it boasted a population of 
approximately three hundred, and within the follow- 
ing year was designated as county seat of newly-cre- 
ated Kearny County. Although the settlement had a 
reputation for attracting undesirable elements to its 
saloons and gambling establishments, emigrants 
found an impressive selection of merchandise, tele- 
graph service, a doctor, several tradesmen and three 
blacksmiths by the eve of the Civil War. This symbol- 
ized how much the Nebraska portions of the Central 
Route had improved between 1849 and 1859. Not 
surprisingly, Dobytown entrepreneurs focused their 
attention on supplying exactly the same kinds of ser- 
vices that overlanders had been demanding since 
1846, and which the army had only partially been 
able to deliver. 77 

The gradual creation of towns along the various 
western trails did not end the era of wagon 
travel across the Great Plains, but a significant 
modification in frontier transportation was under- 
way during the years immediately after the Civil 
War. Along the Platte River Road through Nebraska 
and Wyoming, no technological advance had more 
profound effect than did the 1869 completion of the 
nation's first transcontinental railroad. Henceforth, 
travelers and their cargoes could traverse the two 
thousand miles from the Mississippi River Valley to 
the Pacific coast in a matter of days rather than an 
average of six months. With that ribbon of iron even- 
tually came farmers, town builders, cattlemen and a 
host of other entrepreneurs who would forever 
change the landscape of the Great Plains. Ft. Kearny, 
was abandoned in 1871, and Ft. Laramie followed 
suit in 1890, but both had served as "spearheads of 
the frontier" and their impact was best symbolized in 
the nation's legendary migration to Oregon, 
California and the Salt Lake Valley. In its many guis- 
es, the multi-purpose army had helped make the 
migration possible and had earned the gratitude of 
many who had made that epic journey to begin new 
lives. & 

by Kenneth L. Holmes, vol. 8 (Glendale, California: Arthur H. 
Clark Co., 1989), 238. Wilson, Ft. Kearny, 80. 

77. Wilson, Ft. Kearny, 80-86. Eugene F. Ware, The Indian War 
of 1864 (Topeka: Crane and Co., 1911), 32-35. Violet A. Saltzgaber, 
"Doby Town." Unpublished reminiscence manuscript, NSHS.' 

The necessity for a more direct route between 
the Montana mining communities and the 
eastern United States resulted in the establish- 
ment of the Bozeman Trail or Powder River Road in 
1863. While the United States Army erected three 
forts in 1866 in order to protect immigrants along this 
new road, the Sioux furiously fought to defend their 
prized hunting grounds. Not only did the Sioux, 
along with the Northern Cheyennes and Arapahoes, 
frequently kill those traveling to the mines of 
Montana, they also constantly wreaked havoc on the 
military posts along the Bozeman Trail: Fort Reno, 
Fort Phil Kearny, and Fort C. F. Smith. 

On August 1, 1867, between five hundred and 
eight hundred Sioux, Northern Cheyennes, and 
Arapahoes battled thirty-four soldiers and civilians 
in a hay field two-and-a-half miles from Fort C. F. 
Smith. This encounter, known as the Hayfield Fight, 
resulted in the deaths of three whites and between 

one hundred and two hundred Indians. While the 
soldiers and civilians at the hayfield mutually with- 
stood an assault virtually unprecedented in history, 
animosity and contention between these two groups 
frequently appeared throughout the battle as well as 
in their later accounts. The soldiers and civilians fur- 
ther demonstrated their antipathy towards one 
another at Fort C. F. Smith just after this clash with 
the Indians. 

The morning of August 1 commenced bright 
and sunny. After the men at the hayfield fin- 
ished breakfast, ten mounted soldiers accom- 
panied three hay wagons back to Fort C. F. Smith. 
Left behind at the hayfield were twelve civilians and 
twenty-two soldiers. The non-military personnel 
remaining at the hayfield were Don A. "Al" Colvin, 
Zeke Colvin, Al Stevenson, Robert Wheeling, Robert 
Little, George Duncan, William Haynes, John G. Hol- 

Joel Hyer earned an M.A. in history from Brigham Young Uni- 
versity. He is now working as a research associate of the Costo 
Native American Research Center at the University of California, 
Riverside, where he is also completing a Ph.D. in history. 

The photo above shows the site of the Hayfield Fight as 
it appears today. (Author's Collection) 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

lister, Finn Burnett, Albert Howard, B. F. Harwood, 
and a man named Harris. 1 The troops, commanded 
by Second Lieutenant Sigismund Sternberg of 
Company G, consisted of Private James D. Lockwood 
of Company D; Privates Francis M. Law and Charles 
Bradley of Company E; Private Henry C. Vinson of 
Company G; Privates Thomas Navin, Thomas Roach, 
and John Cahill of Company H; Sergeant James 
Norton and Privates George Brambier, Richard Col- 
clough, Edward Halloran, James S. Leavey, Frederick 
Ludders, Rudolph Raithel, and Thomas Riley, all of 
Company I; and Privates Daniel Flahiv, Joseph 
Hugonholt, Gallagher, Neuser, Clyne, and Burkhart 
from unascertained companies. 2 Little did these men 
recognize that shortly they would battle a vast assem- 
bly of Native American warriors. 

The men at the hayfield performed their normal 
duties. While some of the civilians labored vigorous- 
ly to mow hay, a group of soldiers escorted others to 
the Bighorn River. 3 Al Colvin reminisced that he and 
a few citizen workers "cut some big logs [along the 
river] . . . and hauled them to [the] corral." 4 Colvin 
and the others then employed these to strengthen the 
hay corral. In addition, these civilians dispatched a 

1 . The names of the civilians and soldiers are included here 
as no one previously has offered a comprehensive list of the 
white participants in the Hayfield Fight. J. W. Vaughn, Indian 
Fights: New Facts on Seven Encounters (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1966), 98. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter 
M. Camp, 75-76, Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection, MSS 57, 
Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young 
University, Provo, Utah. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence 
Reckmeyer, May 1, 1927, Wagon Box Fight File (Ind-bat-wb), 
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie, 
Wyoming. Thomas W. Vallentine and William Hain, Claim #7090, 
Indian Depredations Claims, Record Group 123, National 
Archives. The name of William Hain, as recorded in this claim at 
the National Archives, is actually William Haynes. 

2. Vaughn, Indian Fights, 98; Notes of Walter M. Camp, 490, 
Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. Edward Halloran, interview 
by Walter M. Camp, 211-213, Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. 
Letter from Edward Halloran to Walter Camp, April 3, 1917, 
Ellison-Camp Collection, MSS SC 568, Denver Public Library, 
Denver, Colorado. 

3. Alvin C. Leighton, a civilian, had secured a contract to 
provide four hundred tons of hay for Fort C. F. Smith. In return 
for Leighton's services, the military agreed to pay Leighton and 
his men $50 a ton. Leighton sent his civilian employees to the 
hayfield towards the end of July in order to procure hay for the 
fort. While Leighton was not present at the hayfield during the 
fight, he nonetheless presided over the hay operation. 

4. Don A. Colvin, Interview by Walter M. Camp, 68, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. The hay corral, constructed by the 
civilians to serve as an enclosure for their mules as well as for 

messenger to the fort requesting "more men and 
more ammunition." 5 Colonel Luther Bradley, the 
commander of the post, soon responded "that he was 
'running this part of the country'" and refused to 
reinforce the outfit at the hayfield. 6 

While some of the enlisted troops posted guard 
duty at the corral, others relaxed. According to 
Private James Lockwood, some of the soldiers that 
morning engaged in "playing cards, wrestling, pitch- 
ing horse shoes in lieu of quoits, and striving to pass 
time pleasantly, as soldiers usually do at remote sta- 
tions when there is no society aside from their own." 7 
Lockwood later recalled overhearing a conversation 
between one sergeant and four privates regarding the 
potential of their breech-loading rifles: 

First private — "Sergeant, how many Indians 
do you think our squad here, could lick with these 
ere new guns of ours?" 

Sergeant — "We can wallop the devil out of all - 
the Indians that could stand between here and that 
hill" (which was about three hundred yards dis- 

Second private — "By jinks, I should -like to try 
them a crack," sighting over his rifle and then 
resuming, "I have an idea that I could make some 
of them scratch where they didn't itch." 

Third private — "So cud I, aisy enough, be 
jabers; fur it wud be on the ground that they'd be 
afther scratchin." 

Fourth private — "Be the houly Saint Patrick, 
an it is right ye are, me jewel, and it's mesilf that 
cud give thim divils something that they'd not 
pick away with their fingers." 

Sergeant — "Well, boys, we shall have no such 
good luck, I fear, for, damn them, they won't fight 
fair, and they never come when you are ready for 
them. But now I think of it, some of you loosen the 
screws in the lids of those ammunition boxes, so 
that if we do need them, we can get at them quick. 

defensive purposes, was one hundred feet square. According to 
Finn Burnett, the structure consisted of large logs and "tightly 
woven masses of willow boughs with the leaves and twigs 
attached." See Grace R: Hebard and Earl A. Brininstool, The 
Bozeman Trail, vol. II (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1990), 161. 

5. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 68, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

6. Ibid. Colonel Bradley seems to have been a rather proud 
man who refused to follow the advice of civilians and subordi- 

7. James D. Lockwood, Life and Adventures of a Drummer Boy 
(Albany, NY: John Skinner, 1893), 183. 

Winter, 1997 


I am of the opinion that if they come and stay long 
enough to have those five thousand rounds 
pumped into them, there will be a number of them 
in need of the doctor." 

Fourth private — "An be the same token, there 
will be a pile of them that divil a docther wud be 
ony good to."** 

This discussion reveals the eagerness of the soldiers 
to test the effectiveness of their newly-acquired wea- 
pons. 9 Ironically, some of the troops during the forth- 
coming confrontation would exhibit cowardice and 
refuse to fire a shot. 

Lockwood also eludes to the friction between the 
military and the citizens. After the soldiers delineat- 
ed the possibility of fighting Indians, "[t]he sergeant 
wound up, musingly, with the remark, T wish that 
Idoss' haymaker had taken this grass up from around 
the camp here, as I requested him to do — a fire here 
would play the devil with us.'" 10 This sergeant 
appears to be frustrated that he cannot command the 
"'boss' haymaker," as he could the soldiers, to per- 
form certain tasks. 

While Lockwood 's account indicates that a lot of 
grass may have been near the corral the morning of 
the fight, William Haynes, one of the civilians in 
charge of the hay operation, argued differently. 
Haynes, sometime after the fight, declared, "After we 
I built the corral, we cut down the grass around it, 
which was very tall, for a space of forty to fifty yards, 
and raked it up, and the next day after it was cut, we 
burnt it. This was done for the better protection of the 
corral." 11 Although Haynes likely removed any hay 
located right next to the corral, the statement of the 
unnamed sergeant indicates that grass was still near- 

8. Ibid., 183-185. Although not known for certain, 
Lockwood likely wrote his work in the early 1890s. This extend- 
ed quote, then, apparently represents a conversation he over- 
heard prior to the fight. Clearly, he could not have recalled this 
dialogue verbatim. This quotation is included in its original 
form in order to preserve the plausible manner in which these 
men spoke. 

9. Just one week before, reinforcements and supplies, includ- 
ing breechloading rifles, arrived at Fort C. F. Smith. 

10. Ibid., 185. 

11. Thomas W. Vallentine and William Hain, Claim #7090, 
Indian Depredations Claims, Record Group 123, National 
Archives. In such quotations, misspellings and grammatical 
errors have not corrected in order to preserve the writing style of 
the soldiers and civilians. 

Fort C.F. Smith 

and vicinity 



r^? J Site of 


W Hayfield 

>^L Fight 


R! \ 


&> J 


^^ XP Fort C.F. Smith 

/ & 

Trail \ 

/ V 

1 mile 

1 1 

About seven hundred yards south of the hay cor- 
ral lay a high bench. From this strategic location, 
Private Charles Bradley, a soldier and a native of 
Ireland, served as a mounted picket and kept careful 
watch of the hayfield's surroundings. At approxi- 
mately 9:30 a.m., Bradley fired his gun and quickly 
galloped on his old black horse to the corral. 
According to Al Colvin, hundreds of Indian braves, 
"in line as close as could ride side by side 3/4 mile 
long," charged after Private Bradley. 12 One man at 
the corral pointed in disbelief towards the massive 
assembly of warriors and hollered: "For heaven's 
sake, look at the Indians coming up the valley!" 13 Al 
Colvin later recalled that the Native Americans rode 
"horses with feathers braided into manes and tails 

12. Don A. Colvin, Interview by Walter M. Camp, 69, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

13. Robert B. David, Finn Burnett, Frontiersman (Glendale, 
CA: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1937), 168. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

and all painted." 14 Some of the warriors carried 
shields, bows, and arrows, while others possessed 
guns. Clearly, this enormous force of Indians hoped 
to quickly obliterate the men at the hayfield and then 
proceed to Fort C. F. Smith. 

Lieutenant Sternberg, a proud and fierce native of 
Berlin, Prussia, instantly assumed his position as 
leader of the outfit. Those in the corral gathered their 
ammunition and began loading their guns. 
According to Private Edward Halloran, they pos- 
sessed "4 boxes of ammunition in [the] corral and all 
opened and had plenty in [their] belts." 15 Sternberg 
then ordered both civilians and soldiers, "Man the 
rifle pits!" 16 The soldiers had previously dug these 
rifle pits along the periphery of the corral so as to be 
used in case of attack. Al Colvin looked at the stub- 
born German and stated, "Lieut[enant,] you are 
crazy!" 17 Sternberg, in consternation, replied, "Who 
is commanding this place?" 18 Colvin then retorted, 
"[A] man who does not know anything about Indian 
fighting!" 19 Viewing the impressive assembly of 
braves approaching them, Colvin urged all of the 
men that "if they wanted to live 10 min[utes] to jump 
inside the corral and lie down." 20 According to 
Colvin, "they all left [Sternberg] and did this." 21 
While soldiers and civilians ran into the enclosure, 
Sternberg called them "[d]amned cowards." 22 He 
then seized a gun from one of the retreating soldiers 
and shot at an Indian in the distance. 

Colvin, a citizen, and Sternberg, a military officer, 
disagreed on the best method to counter the assault. 
This struggle for leadership insulted Sternberg and 
typifies the conflict between the soldiers and 
non-military personnel at the corral. Al Colvin had 
served in the Union army during the Civil War and 
obtained the rank of captain. Therefore, just two 
years previous to the Hayfield Fight, Colvin actually 
possessed a military rank higher than Sternberg. This 

14. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 69, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

15. Edward Halloran, interview by Walter M. Camp, 209, 
Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. 

16. David, Finn Burnett, 168. 

17. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 69, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

18. Ibid. 

19. Ibid. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Ibid. 
22. Ibid. 

likely contributed to the feud between these two 
men. Such strained relations between the soldiers 
and the civilians would continue throughout the con- 

Finally sensing the prudence of Colvin's advice, 
Sternberg scampered back into the stockade. After 
Private Bradley arrived from the bench, soldiers 
moved a wagon in front of the corral opening and 
placed rocks under the wagon's wheels. Soldiers and 
civilians also secured the thirty mules and the one 
black horse present at the hayfield to a cable which 
ran across the corral. With all thirty-four men inside 
the makeshift fortification, they hastily prepared 
themselves for the first encounter of the day. 

A gathering of a few hundred Indians sudden- 
ly dashed on horseback towards the stock- 
ade. According to Al Colvin, the braves were 
"principally Cheyenne and Sioux, there were some 
Arapahoes, and I think I saw some young Crows." 23 
Yelling at the top of their lungs, the warriors then 
released an immense volley of bullets and arrows 
upon the fortification. The men at the corral quickly 
returned fire. By that time, this first group of Native 
Americans circled away from the stockade. 

According to Lockwood, those in the first group 
"were then joined by nearly twice as many more and, 
thinking to reach the little band before they could 
reload their guns, they rode furiously upon them." 24 
The Indians logically assumed that the soldiers and 
civilians possessed muzzleloading rifles. Recog- 
nizing that such firearms typically required about 
thirty seconds to reload, the Native Americans 
charged again in mass numbers, in hopes of com- 
pletely overwhelming the corral. To their dismay, the 
warriors encountered an intense fusillade from the I 
stockade. Astonished by the display of firepower, the 
Indians, some of them only fifty feet from the corral, 
scattered. Private Halloran later remembered that 
this first offensive was the closest the Northern 
Cheyennes and their allies came to overrunning the 
hayfield corral that day. 25 

During this initial exchange, the battle was fast 

23. Thomas W. Vallentine and William Hain, Claim #7090, 
Indian Depredations Claims, Record Group 123, National 

24. Lockwood, Drummer Boy, 187. 

25. Edward Halloran, interview by Walter M. Camp, 209, 
Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. 

Winter, 1997 


and furious within the corral. Zeke Colvin, Al's 
brother, was the first to kill a Native American war- 
rior that day. A captain in the Confederate Army dur- 
ing the Civil War, Zeke was an experienced fighter. 
Towards the beginning of the conflict, he noticed an 
Indian brave riding straight for the corral with a torch 
in hand. Realizing that this warrior intended to set 
the stockade on fire, Zeke aimed his Enfield musket, 
which he had obtained at the Battle of Wilson Creek 
during the Civil War, and fired. His bullet struck the 
brave's horse. According to Burnett, the wounded 
animal "Fell against the Coral and on the Indian who 
Struggled out from under the Horse." 26 Just as the 
warrior started to run away, Zeke reloaded his mus- 
ket and killed the brave. 

Both soldiers and civilians, mostly armed with 
breechloading rifles, fired as often as they could 
| reload. Lieutenant Sternberg encouraged the men in 
| his thick German accent, 'Toys, give dem the hell, 
give dem the tevel, shoot strait." 27 Private Lockwood 
described the action at the corral as follows: "The lit- 
tle camp was one steady, continuous circle of fire 
sfrom the breech loaders." 28 He was also particularly 
complimentary towards the efforts of the soldiers: 
"the rattle and roar of [the guns] in the hands of those 
few regulars was as steady and continuous as the 
rumbling of a mill, or the hum of machinery." 29 

The loud cracking of the guns, the heavy smoke, 
and the yelling of Native American warriors created 
a scene of chaos and disorder. Many of the mules, 
which the soldiers and civilians gathered into the cor- 
ral prior to the Indian offensive, were struck by 
arrows and bullets from the warriors. According to 
Halloran, "[t]he mules and horse were excited and 
kept running around the corral." 30 The panic of the 
animals within the corral likely augmented the con- 
fusion within the stockade. 

Despite the immense commotion, the soldiers 
and civilians continued to shoot at any 
Indian within range. Early on, Sergeant 
Norton received a gunshot wound to his hand. 
According to Private Halloran, Norton then 
"dropped his gun," shocked and in pain. 31 
Lieutenant Sternberg, up to that moment, had shot a 
revolver. Sternberg grabbed Norton's gun off of the 
ground, stood up, and ordered the others to rise up 
and "fight like men." 32 Halloran then declared to 
Sternberg, "Lieut[enant,] you had better get down." 33 
This private later remembered that the lieutenant 
"looked at [him] rather surprised and half angrily." 34 
Sternberg must have resented having a common sol- 
dier advise him, an officer, how to fight. No sooner 
had Sternberg glanced at Halloran than the lieu- 
tenant "was shot through the temple and fell over." 35 
According to Al Colvin, "[a] chief got into a tree (this 
Indian had an old flintlock Hudson Bay gun) and 
shot down Sternberg who stood just inside the 
gate." 36 The proud Prussian died immediately. 
Private Navin, who was standing near Sternberg, 
was then shot and killed. Burnett recalled that "those 
who were Killed and Wounded were all Hurt in the 
First Hour." 37 The wounded Sergeant Norton 
promptly grabbed Sternberg's revolver and contin- 
ued to fight. 

Sternberg's death created a panic within the forti- 
fication. Individuals present reacted in a plethora of 
ways. Some of the soldiers, for instance, worried 
about who would head the outfit. Al Colvin recalled 
that there was "great confusion — some cried, some 
more said we will all be killed." 38 Others even rec- 
ommended that they should release their mules in 
hopes that the Indians would be satisfied and leave. 
According to Colvin, "we had some new recruits and 

26. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence Reckmeyer, May 1, 
1927, Wagon Box Fight File (Ind-bat-wb), American Heritage 

27. John Talbot, "Carried Old Springfield Rifle from Ft. 
Leavenworth to the Big Horn — 1650 miles." Winners of the West 
2 (October 1925): 4. 

28. Lockwood, Drummer Boy, 187. 

29. Ibid. 

30. Edward Halloran, interview by Walter M. Camp, 211, 
Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. 

31. Ibid., 209. 

32. Letter from Finn Burnett to Grace Hebard, April 13, 1919, 
Hayfield Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

33. Edward Halloran, interview by Walter M. Camp, 209, 
Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. 

34. Ibid. 
35. Ibid. 

36. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 69, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

37. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence Reckmever, May 1, 
1927, Wagon Box Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

38. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 69, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

The site of the hay field is to the left of the modern-day road through the area. War Man Creek, along which Indian com- 
batants took cover, is on the right. (Author's Collection) 

They put in most of Their time in Prayer and talking 
of Their mother — The soldiers and Citizens had 
Very little to do With Each other." 39 

While some panicked and mourned the loss of 
their fallen leader, a few held negative feelings 
towards Sternberg. In an interview with Walter 
Camp years later, Private Edward Halloran por- 
trayed the lieutenant as haughty and stubborn. 40 
Sternberg apparently resented Halloran's request for 
him to lie low. Finn Burnett, although referring to 
Sternberg as "a brave soldier," also asserted that 
Sternberg "lost [his] li[f]e . . . thru [his] careless- 
ness." 41 Sternberg simply "refused to lay down and 
keepe out of Sight." 42 Burnett also admitted that 
Private Navin died because the young soldier com- 
plied with Sternberg's ludicrous order. 

While Finn Burnett criticized Sternberg, the civil- 
ian acknowledged the efforts of Sergeant Norton. 
Although Norton was incapacitated much of the day 
because of a bleeding bullet wound, Burnett remem- 
bered that Norton "never Failed to Help . . ., when 
[the others] were hard Pressed." 43 Norton's painful 
injury prevented him from firing a rifle; instead, 
Norton used two revolvers which the others kept 
loaded for him. 

Al Colvin, the civilian who had been a captain in 
the Union army during the Civil War, instantly took 
charge of the corral after Sternberg's decease. Colvin 
barked out orders to both soldiers and civilians: "Lie 
down there and be quiet and fight!" 44 A few of the 
men, who concluded that the situation was futile, 
decided to hide from the Indian braves under some 
wagon beds within the fortification. According to 

39. Letter from Don A. Colvin to Grace Hebard, September 
15, 1919, Hayfield Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

40. Edward Halloran, interview by Walter M. Camp, 209, 
Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. 

41. Letter from Finn Burnett to Grace Hebard, April 13, 1919, 
Hayfield Fight File, American Heritage Center. Both Private 
Halloran and Finn Burnett fail to indicate if they at first panicked 
and then later resented the lieutenant. 

42. Ibid. 

43. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence Reckmeyer, May 1, 
1927, Wagon Box Fight File, American Heritage Center. While 
Private Edward Halloran recalled that Sergeant Norton received 
a bullet wound to his hand, Finn Burnett contended that Norton 
was wounded in his shoulder. Clearly, either wound would have 
hindered the sergeant from shooting his rifle. 

44. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 69, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

Winter, 1997 


Colvin, "[t]here were new recruits who left their guns 
and stopped. fighting and were very frightened." 45 
Colvin also later recalled that he ordered those will- 
ing to fight "to lie down and let [the] Indians come 
right up and never to fire unless they could kill an 
Indian or a horse." 46 In addition, the former Union 
Army captain urged the soldiers and civilians to con- 
serve their ammunition because he "was afraid [they] 
would run out as Bradley did not send [them] any." 47 
Colvin's counsel would eventually prove beneficial, 
as most heeded his orders and survived. Burnett 
lauded Colvin as "a seasoned veteran — cool, 
absolutely fearless, yet discreet." 48 Furthermore, 
Burnett applauded Colvin's advice to lie low, for 
"[e]verthing that was a foot or eighteen inches above 
ground was simply shot to pieces by the Indians." 49 
Finn Burnett remembered in later years that Al 
Colvin delivered a speech to the men at the corral at 
this critical moment. Colvin, exemplifying his status 
as leader of the defenders of the corral, spelled out 
their dire situation: 

Boys, I don't think that any of us will ever get out 
of this alive, but let us make these Indians remem- 
ber this day as long as there is one left. Keep 
dow[n] out of Sight. Save youre ammunition don't 
waste a shot. Fight to the last and Save the last 
Shot for youre Self .... [N]one of us must be taken 
alive to be Hacked and Tortured by these Devils. 50 

Recalling Colvin's words, Burnett wrote years later, 
"[I]t is not often a fellow has a talk impressed on his 
minde as that. ... I don't think there was a dozen 
Shots wasted after that Talk." 51 From Burnett's reac- 
tion to Colvin's words of wisdom, soldiers and civil- 
ians alike presumably held the former officer in high 
regard and carried out his orders. 

About this time, John Hollister, a civilian, re- 

ceived a bullet to his bowels. Bleeding and in excru- 
ciating pain, he begged Al Colvin throughout the day 
to shoot him. Colvin later remembered assuring Hol- 
lister that if they "could not hold the place [Colvin] 
would not let the Indians get him alive." 52 With no 
one with medical expertise in the corral, Hollister and 
the few others who received wounds had to simply 
endure their afflictions and wait for relief. 

In Finn Burnett's writings on the hayfield, he 
noted the marksmanship of a few of the corral de- 
fenders that day. He lauded the civilians and men- 
tioned little concerning the soldiers. For instance, 
Burnett described Al Colvin as a crack shot. Colvin 
possessed a sixteen-shot repeating rifle and a thou- 
sand rounds of ammunition. Burnett mentioned how 
Colvin "would take Just as Carefull [an] aim at an In- 
dian's Belly Button as he would at a Preary Chicken's 
Head, and [Burnett] never Knew [Colvin] to miss any 
thing he Shot at that was in reasonable Distance." 53 
So accurate was Colvin with his gun that Burnett said 
"I don't think Al missed a Shot all day." 54 The obser- 
vant citizen also noted that Colvin fired at warriors 
"at a range of twenty to one hundred yards." 55 

Because of Al Colvin's deadly aim, the Native 
Americans singled him out and strove to kill him. 
The Indian warriors often shot in Colvin's direction. 
According to Burnett, "the two posts and the End 
gate behind which [Colvin] set were Litraly cut-to- 
pieces, and his old Black Curly head was so full of 
Chips and Bark knocked off of the posts." 56 Colvin 
fired so frequently that the ground surrounding him 
was covered with cartridge shells by the end of the 
day. Burnett asserted that, while the fighting men at 
the corral each shot approximately forty rounds of 
ammunition throughout the entire conflict, Colvin 
likely fired over one hundred bullets. 

Finn Burnett also commented on the fighting abil- 
ity of other men at the corral. Although he admitted 

45. Ibid. 

46. Ibid., 70. 

47. Ibid. 

48. Hebard and Brininstool, Bozeman Trail, II, 165. 

49. Ibid. 

50. Letter from Finn Burnett to Alvin C. Leighton, November 
1913, (item 13287), Walter Mason Camp Collection, Little Bighorn 
Battlefield National Monument, Montana. Letter from Finn 
Burnett to Clarence Reckmeyer, May 1, 1927, Wagon Box Fight 
File, American Heritage Center. 

51. Letter from Finn Burnett to Alvin C. Leighton, November 
1913, (item 13287), Walter Mason Camp Collection, Little Bighorn 
Battlefield National Monument. 

52. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 75, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

53. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence Reckmeyer, May 1, 
1927, Wagon Box Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

54. Letter from Finn Burnett to Alvin C. Leighton, November 
1913, (item 13287), Walter Mason Camp Collection, Little Bighorn 
Battlefield National Monument. 

55. Letter from Finn Burnett to Grace Hebard, June 23, 1919, 
Hayfield Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

56. Letter from Finn Burnett to Alvin C. Leighton, November 
1913, (item 13287), Walter Mason Camp Collection, Little Bighorn 
Battlefield National Monument. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

the soldiers possessed "'needle' guns and . . . plenty 
of ammunition," Burnett did not compliment them 
on their ability to defend the stockade. 57 Instead, he 
acknowledged the efforts of "Bob Little and George 
Duncan, two of the citizens." 58 Burnett regarded both 
as "brave, steady men, . . . [who did] splendid execu- 
tion all day." 59 

Losing all hope, one civilian in particular 
panicked. Bob Wheeling, who had lived in 
the mountains for a long time and often 
bragged of his noble deeds and excit- 
ing adventures, decided to no longer 
defend the corral. Wheeling's recre- 
ancy infuriated the Colvin broth- 
ers, since Wheeling had once call- 
ed Al Colvin a coward. Although 
Wheeling possessed a .44 caliber 
Spencer rifle, two .44 caliber navy 
revolvers, and one hundred 
rounds of ammunition, he fired 
only three shots throughout the 
duration of the battle. Colvin re- 
membered that instead of warding off 
the onslaught with his impressive arse- 
nal, Wheeling "prayed amusing prayers 
and talked about his mother and vomit- 
ed." 60 According to Burnett, this man 
also threatened to commit suicide. 61 
Wheeling thought the soldiers and civil- 
ians had no chance of survival and lost 
his composure. 

Colvin's brother, Zeke, yelled, "God damn him[,] 
I will put him out of his misery!" 62 Just before Zeke 
pulled his trigger, Al Colvin stopped his brother from 
killing the coward. Wheeling then dashed towards a 
place within the fortification where a dog had dug a 
hole. He then hid himself in the small cavity, sensing 
that the Indian warriors would surely overwhelm the 

57. Hebard and Brininstool, Bozeman Trail, II, 168. 
58. Ibid. 
59. Ibid. 

60. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 70, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

61. Hebard and Brininstool, Bozeman Trail, II, 166. In Bur- 
nett's account, he seems to confuse Wheeling with a soldier; 
however, Al Colvin's discussion of the incident points to Wheel- 
ing as the man who lost his composure. See Don A. Colvin, inter- 
view by Walter M. Camp, 70, Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. 

62. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 70, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

corral any minute. According to Burnett, Wheeling 
"kept so quiet that [all the others] thought he was 
dead, until after the fighting was over." 63 

A : 


Finn Burnett, circa 1920. 
(Riverton Museum) 

fter their first major offensive, the Native 
Americans again assembled along the bench 
running east and south for another assault 
against the corral. Instead of charging on 
horseback or on foot, the warriors cau- 
tiously and clandestinely surrounded 
the encampment. They hid near the 
bank of War Man Creek as well as 
behind bushes, rocks, and trees. 
From such points, the Indians at- 
tempted to pick off the men and 
animals inside the corral. 

The soldiers and civilians, in 
response, kept firing their breech- 
loading rifles. Lockwood remi- 
nisced that the soldiers "never 
once slackened their fire, as they 
knew it was death to surrender, and 
they determined to fight as long as 
there was a man to pull the trigger." 64 
He also remembered that he fired his 
rifle with such rapidity that he "fre- 
quently dipped his gun into . . . water 
to cool its heated breech block." 65 

One civilian named Albert How- 
ard proved particularly useful at the 
corral. Howard, who could speak Siouan, frequently 
taunted the warriors by declaring in their native lan- 
guage, "Come on in and bring your squaws. You can- 
not fight!" 66 These insults both confused and offend- 
ed the Indians. Howard thereby hoped to demon- 
strate to the Native Americans that the whites were 
confident. Al Colvin asserted that such acts of defi- 
ance also caused the Indians to become more "deter- 
mined to get us." 67 

After the whites successfully withstood this sec- 
ond offensive, the Indian braves continued to besiege 
the corral. According to Colvin, these "charges would 
average one every half hour with three or four hun- 

63. Hebard and Brininstool, Bozeman Trail, II, 166. 

64. Lockwood, Drummer Boy, 187. 

65. Ibid. 

66. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 71, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

67. Ibid. 

Winter, 1997 


dred Indians in a charge." 68 Amazed at the strength 
of those defending the corral, the warriors finally 
broke off their attacks around noon. Al Colvin, 
Burnett, and the others hastily ate a meal and passed 
around more ammunition. 

A group of men also gathered pails and pans that 
were not shot up in order to fetch water from War 
Man Creek. Soldiers and civilians with rifles ready 
lined the south side of the corral facing the creek so 
as to protect those willing to dash the thirty yards for 
water. The intrepid men who dared to traverse that 
small but dangerous strip of land between the corral 
and the creek carried enough water to fill a large bar- 
rel as well as to quench the thirst of the others. Water 
became a vital factor during the battle because of the 
grass fires that had to be extinguished, the heat of the 
day, the dust, and the smoke which choked those in 
the corral. As the Native Americans had withdrawn 
to nurse their wounds, discuss attack strategies, and 
rest, they did not attempt to thwart the whites' plan 
to procure water from the creek. 

The soldiers and civilians also employed utensils 
and plates to dig holes for defense and protection. 
According to Al Colvin, they "dug a diagonal ditch 
across the corral and threw up dirt 6 f[ee]t high and 
intended to fight until night and then get out." 69 
Colvin then added in his account, "at least we civil- 
ians intended to get out." 70 Finn Burnett later recol- 
lected that "we dug our Selves in with our k[n]ives 
and Tin Plates as fast as we could. [A]nd you have no 
idea what a Rifle Pit a Fellow can dig in a Short Time 
with these tools ... if his life depends on his dili- 
gence." 71 Colvin noticed that even the seven or eight 
soldiers who refused to fight that morning willingly 
helped to fortify the stockade. 72 

Sometime after the Native Americans sufficiently 
prepared themselves, they launched more assaults on 
the hay corral. Albert Howard's knowledge of the 
Siouan language continued to benefit the men at the 

68. Thomas W. Vallentine and William Hain, Claim #7090, 
Indian Depredations Claims, Record Group 123, National 

69. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 71, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

70. Ibid. 

71 . Letter from Finn Burnett to Grace Hebard, April 13, 1919, 
Hayfield Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

72. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 76, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

corral that afternoon. Around three o'clock, Howard 
listened to one Hunkpapa Sioux chief, named Bear 
That Grabs, speaking loudly to a large force of 
braves. 73 Al Colvin later recalled that he asked 
Howard, "[W]hat is he saying?" 74 Howard replied, 
"[H]e is planning to have them charge afoot." 75 With 
this information, Colvin and the others could outline 
a defensive strategy. 

After the chief's address, approximately three 
hundred warriors on foot raced towards the 
hayfield corral, accompanied by some braves 
on horseback. The soldiers and civilians, possessing a 
number of double-barrel shot guns, quickly loaded 
them with buckshot. Al Colvin advised them to con- 
centrate on shooting the Native Americans on foot 
and to pay little attention to those on horseback. 
According to Finn Burnett, Colvin also ordered the 
men "to Holde our Fire, that he would Kill the first 
Indian who crossed the Creek." 76 

The Indians on foot completely surrounded the 
corral and slowly closed in. As Bear That Grabs, the 
leader of this charge, traversed War Man Creek, Al 
Colvin shot him with his rifle. According to Colvin, 
this chief "jumped up in [the] air and fell back dead. 
He had an arrow in his bow ready to fire and a quiver 
full on his back." 77 Others defending the corral fired 
their shotguns with such ferocity and accuracy that 
the other warriors scattered for cover. Colvin later 
claimed that Burnett killed two Indians with one shot 
at this time. 78 

Many Indians unsuccessfully attempted to recov- 
er the corpse of Bear That Grabs from that moment 

73. Edward Halloran, interview by Walter M. Camp, 209, 
Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. Letter from Edward L. Hartz 
to his father, May 19, 1868, Section 1-52-24, Father Barry Hagan 
Collection, Wyoming Room, Sheridan County Fulmer Public 
Library, Sheridan, Wyoming. Although Captain Hartz was not at 
the hayfield, he heard from survivors that this chief was named 
Bear That Grabs. According to author Robert David, this chief 
who delivered the speech led the charge and perished from a 
gunshot wound inflicted by Al Colvin, was a Miniconjou Sioux 
chief. See David, Finn Burnett, 187-188. 

74. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 71, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

75. Ibid. 

76. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence Reckmeyer, May L 
1927, Wagon Box Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

77. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 71, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

78. Ibid., 72. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

on. This fearless Hunkpapa chief died so close to the 
corral that the Indians who sought to retrieve his 
body were repelled by gunfire from the corral. 
Burnett remembered that the Native Americans 
'Toast Several men in attempting to Retrieve [the 
chief]." 79 This civilian also noticed that the corpse of 
Bear That Grabs was "So Far from the Creek that 
[other braves] could not reach him without exposing 
them Selves. [T]hey tried many times to get him, but 
always Failed." 80 Furthermore, he stated that the 
Indians . . . 

must have loast more men in this charge than in 
any of the others, as they were Litraly Packed 
around us, and I am Shure that Some of them must 
have been Powder Burned they were So near us. 
Our Henry Guns must have Hurt Several at each 
Shot. Why they did not overpower us is beyond 

That evening after the battle, Burnett asserted that 
this charge had a devastating effect upon the Native 
Americans because he noticed that "the Grass and 
Willows [around the corral] were Smeared and 
Soaked with Blood." 82 

Although none of the soldiers and civilians 
received harm during this, the last major charge on 
foot by the Indians, many of the whites began to 
sense they could not last much longer. While the men 
in the stockade were frazzled and slowly losing hope 
of relief, Al Colvin assured them that assistance 
would surely come "within an hour." 83 Despite 
Colvin's words of comfort, Finn Burnett refused to 
believe the army would dispatch a relief party. 
Burnett later remarked, "[A]fter the masacree at Ft. 
Phil Kearny, the military people appeared to have a 
perfect dread of the indians and we citizens, who wer 
contracting and working out Side, never expected to 
receive help from the Soldiers." 84 

Private Charles Bradley, the picket who warned 

79. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence Reekmeyer, May 1, 
1927, Wagon Box Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

80. Letter from Finn Burnett to Grace Hebard, June 23, 1919, 
Hayfield Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

81. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence Reekmeyer, May 1, 
1927, Wagon Box Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

82. Ibid. 

83. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 72, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

84. Letter from Finn Burnett to Grace Hebard, April 13, 1919, 
Hayfield Fight File, (American Heritage Center). 

the corral that morning, remained in constant fear of 
dying. Al Colvin recalled that in addition to hiding in 
a hole, Bradley "had been crossing himself [,] praying 
and talking about [the] Virgin Mary etc. all day and 
had not fired a shot." 85 Sometime during the late 
afternoon, Bradley approached Colvin and requested 
permission to ride the old black horse to Fort C. F. 
Smith. Colvin inquired, "[H]ave you ever rode a 
horse?" 86 And the young Irishman replied, "Yes, 
many of them." 87 

By this time, the warriors had pulled back from 
the corral and ceased fighting. Private Bradley 
evidently viewed this as an opportunity to flee 
for his life. Al Colvin assessed the situation and said, 
"[Y]es[,] . . . you have been no good around here, you 
may go." 88 Recalling this scene in his later years, 
Colvin felt that Bradley "wanted to get out and he 
thought his chances better in trying to get to [the] fort 
than staying there with us. I told him I had seen 
Irishmen fight bravely in the Civil War but I was 
ashamed of him." 89 The Irish coward then requested 
a pistol to defend himself during the dangerous jour- 
ney. Colvin declared to him in disbelief, "[W]hat in 
hell would you do with a pistol[?] We may need it 
here and we had rather lose you than the pistol." 90 
Colvin then instructed him how to best survive the 
trip to the fort: 

[R]ide out through the gate and trot along under 
these trees until you get to the place where the 
creek comes out of the hill .... Then spur up the 
horse and make for the road to the fort. Let him go 
at his own speed and don't hold the reins any 
tighter than just to steady him. Don't look back or 
stop until you get to the fort. 91 

After hearing his orders, the Irishman wanted to 
know what he should tell Colonel Luther Bradley, the 
commander of the post, when he arrived. Finn 
Burnett later remembered that Colvin grabbed a 
piece of paper from "a Small Day Book [and] with a 

85. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 72, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 
86. Ibid. 
87. Ibid. 
88. Ibid. 

89. Ibid., 72-73. 

90. Ibid., 73. 

91. Ibid. 

Winter, 1997 


Sharpened Bullet" wrote the following message to 
Colonel Bradley: "We have Three Dead and Four 
Wounded. [W]e will be unable to Defende the corral 
after Dark. [I]f you are a man, Send us Reliefe. [I]f 
you are a Devel, [then] Go to Hell where you ought to 
be." 92 Al Colvin recalled informing the Irishman, 
"[T]ell him that [the] 
Lieut[enant] and [the] sergeant 
are killed. The civilians will get 
out tonight: If he wants his sol- 
diers to come and get them. If 
not he may go to hell." 93 

Private Charles Bradley, 
the young Irishman, then 
began his flight to the fort. Al 
Colvin knew instantly that 
Bradley was an inexperienced 
rider and thought for sure he 
would fall off the horse. The 
civilians then jumped up on 
the corral to watch Bradley 
race for his life. Colvin recalled 

that the civilians "did not much care whether the 
Indians or the soldiers won (in these times there was 
not much warming feeling between soldiers and 
civilians)." 94 As Bradley neared the mouth of War 
Man Creek, he slammed his heels into the horse's 
side. Colvin, watching the entire scene up to this 
point, reminisced years later, "The old horse by this 
time smelled Indians and ran like a black devil for the 
road. The horse belonged at the fort and we had no 
doubt about his being able to get there but whether or 
not the soldier could stick to him we had doubts." 95 
Thus, the civilians did not care if the young Irishman 
survived. This event reflects the deep-rooted antago- 
nism which was evident between the soldiers and the 
civilians at Fort C. F. Smith. 

After the Irishman's safe arrival at the fort, 
Colonel Bradley dispatched a relief party 
eventually consisting of Captain Thomas B. 
Burrowes, Lieutenant Edmund R. P. Shurley, Lieu- 
tenant R. H. Fenton, approximately one hundred sol- 

92. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence Reckmeyer, May 1, 
1927, Wagon Box Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

93. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 73, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

94. Ibid. 

95. Ibid. 

"The horse belonged at the fort 
and we had no doubt about his 
being able to get there but 
whether or not the soldier could 
stick to him we had doubts." 

Wagon Boxes 

diers, and one battery. When this expedition was only 
one-half mile from the corral, a few Indians still hid- 
ing in the brush fired at the rescuers. Captain 
Burrowes then ordered his men to halt. Finn Burnett 
later recalled that he and other civilians at the corral 
"were afraide that the Soldiers Would Turn back 
when Fired on out of the 
Brush." 96 Moments later, 
Lieutenant Shurley became 
angry at Burrowes and direct- 
ed him, the higher ranking 
officer, to proceed towards the 
corral. Finally, at about 5:30 in 
the evening, Burrowes and his 
men arrived at the corral. 

By this time, the hay 
corral was in absolute sham- 
bles. Finn Burnett, one of the 
survivors of the Hayfield 
Fight, remembered that "[t]he 
Three Tents in the Coral were 
litraly Shot to Pieces and our 
were Riddled with Bullets." 97 He 
also mentioned that those present "Gathered arms 
full of Arrows in and around the Coral." 98 Al Colvin, 
interviewed years later, declared that he "picked over 
40 out of [the] ground in a space [of] 15 f[ee]t square 
after the fight." 99 Alvin Leighton, who was not pre- 
sent at the hayfield, heard that "[t]here was hardly a 
piece of wagon bed large as [a] hand that didn't have 
a bullet hole in it." 100 

Realizing that the Native Americans would even- 
tually return and seize everything not transported 
back to the fort, the civilians collected various things 
they could salvage, such as the mowing machines 
and cooking utensils. They then harnessed up some 
of the mules. While the civilians gradually prepared 
for departure, Burrowes struggled to maintain his 
composure. Al Colvin later contended that Burrowes 
"was so badly frightened at that time that he did not 

96. Letter from Finn Burnett to Walter M. Camp, March 22, 
1914, Box 2, Walter M. Camp Collection. 

97. Letter from Finn Burnett to Clarence Reckmeyer, May 1, 
1927, Wagon,Box Fight File, American Heritage Center. 

98. Ibid. 

99. Don A. Colvin, interview by Walter M. Camp, 70, Box 6, 
Walter M. Camp Collection. 

100. Alvin C. Leighton, Claim #818, Indian Depredations 
Claims, Record Group 123, National Archives. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

know what he was doing." 101 Captain Burrowes 
ordered the survivors of the battle to leave all hay 
cutting equipment behind. Burnett recalled that Bur- 
rowes "swore at [him] for delaying every thing by 
gathering up What [Burnett] could of Leightons 
property." 102 According to Burnett, Al Colvin told the 
captain "to take his Dead outfit and leave if he was 
afraid to stay while we gathered up valuable proper- 
ty which he knew would be destroyed by the Indians 
as soone as we were out of sight." 103 

Burrowes continued to panic, thinking that war- 
riors would soon descend again on the corral. The 
captain, in his official report, stated that he wanted to 
leave the hay field "as [soon] as possible for the 
wounded men were sadly in want of medical atten- 
dance." 104 However, according to Al Colvin, Bur- 
rowes "did not even want to take Hollister," who was 
wounded in the bowels. 105 Thus, the officer's actions 
likely contradicted his official report. Colvin and a 
few of the men gently lifted the feeble and bleeding 
Hollister into one of the wagons. Later that evening, 
medical personnel at Fort C. F. Smith strove to save 
the civilian. Unfortunately for Hollister, his wounds 
were too severe for him to recover; he died that night. 

As soon as the soldiers and civilians loaded 
everything into the wagons, the expedition headed 
towards Fort C. F. Smith. Burrowes ordered Shurley, 
Fenton, and their troops to take possession of the 
bluffs, while Burrowes, his men, and the survivors of 
the Hayfield Fight proceeded towards the fort. When 
Burrowes's contingent was about a mile away from 
the corral, Native American braves lit it on fire. 
According to Al Colvin, "[t]he Indians were in the 
corral all night. They got [the remains of] the chief's 
body and took [them] away." 106 

After the relief party and the survivors of the 

101. Thomas W. Vallentine and William Hain, Claim #7090, 
Indian Depredations Claims, Record Group 123, National 

102. Letter from Finn Burnett to Walter M. Camp, March 22, 
1914, Box 2, Walter M. Camp Collection. For more discussion on 
Alvin Leighton, see footnote 3. 

103. Ibid. 

104. Official Report of Captain Thomas B. Burrowes, August 
3, 1867, Robert Murray Collection, Wyoming Room, Sheridan 
County Fulmer Public Library. 

105. Thomas W. Vallentine and William Hain, Claim #7090, 
Indian Depredations Claims, Record Group 123, National 

106. Ibid. 

Hayfield Fight arrived at Fort C. F. Smith that night at 
8:30, tensions were high between the civilians and a 
few of the officers. Al Colvin, for instance, was livid. 
Feeling betrayed by Colonel Bradley's inaction 
throughout the day, Colvin wanted to approach the 
senior officer and threaten him. According to Alvin 
Leighton, the fort sutler, some of the civilians "had 
difficulty to restrain [Colvin] by force." 107 Leighton 
finally cooled Colvin down with this admonition: 
"Now look here ... if you raise any disturbance with 
Gen. Bradley he will put you in the guard house and 
there is no telling how long you will be in there." 108 
In Leighton's store just outside of the fort, sol- 
diers and civilians congregated and discussed the 
fight that night. Amidst the conversations and excite- 
ment, Al Colvin informed Leighton that Captain 
Burrowes swore at Finn Burnett. Burnett later 
recalled that when Burrowes entered the store some- 
time that evening, "Leighton Pitched in to him and I 
never heard a man get Such a tongue lashing as he 
gave Burrow[e]s." 109 Burnett further wrote, "I am 
Shure Leighton would have Killed [Burrowes] if he 
had opened his mouth." 110 Therefore, the bitterness 
and animosity between the soldiers and the civilians 
during the Hayfield fight persisted into the evening. 

In conclusion, the Hayfield Fight unveiled the bit- 
terness and tension between soldiers and civilians 
within the hay corral and at Fort C. F. Smith. 
These two groups not only quarreled and exchanged 
insults, but occasionally spoke ill of one another in 
later personal accounts of the battle. Some civilians 
held grudges against certain soldiers and officers for 
the rest of their lives, and vice versa. Thus, the 
Hayfield Fight offers fascinating insights into the 
complex relationships between military and 
non-military personnel along the American Frontier 
during the mid-nineteenth century. * 

107. Alvin C. Leighton, interview by Walter M. Camp, 62, 
Box 6, Walter M. Camp Collection. 

108. Ibid. 

109. Letter from Finn Burnett to Walter M. Camp, March 22, 
1914, Box 2, Walter M. Camp Collection. Leighton was presum- 
ably upset at Captain Burrowes' desire to abandon Leighton's 
equipment at the hayfield as well as to control Leighton's men. 

110. Ibid. 

At a 1983 University of Wyoming "brown bag" 
luncheon seminar, the late Professor Law- 
rence A. Cardoso addressed the absence of 
Hispanics in Wyoming history saying "there is no 
span of time in Wyoming history, there is virtually no 
one incident, in which Hispanics have not been im- 
portant to the development of the state." Hispanics 
have made significant contributions to Wyoming's 
nineteenth-century fur trade; westward trails and 
railroads; and twentieth-century mining, sugar beet, 
and construction industries. And yet, Cardoso added, 
Hispanics have been written out of Wyoming's histo- 
ry largely because historians believe "there's nothing 
there." Nothing, that is, about Hispanics. 1 

With the notable exception of Augustin Red- 
wine's Annals of Wyoming article, "Lovell's Mexican 

Peg Arnold is a Michigan native who came to Wyoming to study 
at the University of Wyoming. She earned a M.A. in history in 
1995. Currently she works for Wyoming Public Radio. 

Colony," 2 Cardoso's 1983 assessment unfortunately 
prevails today. The historical record changes slowly. 
Given 1990 census figures indicating 24,976 Wyo- 
ming residents are Hispanic, and Spanish is the pri- 
mary language spoken in 12,790 Wyoming homes, 3 
Hispanic history certainly warrants our attention. 

1. Lawrence A. Cardoso, "La Cultura Project" (Cassette 
recording of a luncheon seminar presented at the University of 
Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo., September 19, 1983). 

2. Augustin Redwine, "Lovell's Mexican Colony," Annals of 
Wyoming 51 (1979): 26-35. 

3. U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics 
Administration, Bureau of the Census, 2990 Census of Population: 
Social and Economic Characteristics, Wyoming (Washington: GPO, 
1993), 16 and 36. 

Martin Esquibel and Adolph Sandoval arc shown in 
the photo above at their camp near Rawlins in the late 
1930s. (Wyoming Division of Cultural Resources) 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Along with the enterprises enumerated by Car- 
doso, Hispanics have made considerable contribu- 
tions to the sheep industry. While the Basques have 
enjoyed the limelight, 4 the connection between His- 
panics and sheepherding is far from tenuous. 

Prior to Spanish arrival in the New World, sheep 
were quite limited in North America. 5 Although the 
"sheep-eating" American Indian tribes — the Ute, 
Northern Paiute, Bannock, Northern Shoshone, and 
Comanche — subsisted on wild species, Spaniards 
introduced domesticated herds in the late fifteenth 
century. 6 As early as 1542, Franciscan friars Juan de 
Padilly and Luis de Escalona 
established sheep colonies as 
far north as Cicuye (modern 
day Pecos, New Mexico). 7 
Over the next three centuries, 
Spanish flocks became firmly 
entrenched within Mexican 
and New Mexican subsistence 
patterns and economies. 
Concurrently, the practice of 
sheep-raising spread east, 
west, and north across the 
North American continent. 

By 1845 or 1846, Jim 
Bridger introduced New Mexi- 
can sheep to his fort in southwestern Wyoming. 8 In 
1853, under the tutelage of "Uncle" Dick Wootton, Kit 
Carson, Lucien Maxwell, sheepherders from Taos 
and vast numbers of bleating woollies passed 
through Wyoming. Originating in New Mexico, the 
Carson-Maxwell excursion drove 13,000 sheep north 

4. See Dollie Iberlin, The Basque Web (Buffalo, Wyoming: 
Buffalo Bulletin Press, 1981); Richard Lane, Basque Sheep Herders 
of the American West: A Photographic Documentary (Reno: Nevada 
University Press, 1985); and Beltran Paris, Beltran: Basque 
Sheepmen of the American West (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 

5. Edward Norris Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails (Ames: 
Iowa State College Press, 1948), 13. 

6. Robert F. Murphy and Yolanda Murphy, "Northern 
Shoshone and Bannock," in Handbook of North American Indians, 
vol. 11, ed. William C. Sturtevant (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian 
Institution, 1986), 287-306; and Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails, 

7. Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails, 25-6. 

8. Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails, 308; and Works Projects 
Administration, comp., Wyoming: A Guide to Its History. 
Highways, and People (New York: Oxford University Press, 1941), 

to Fort Laramie, then westward along the Oregon- 
California trail to San Francisco. 9 Thereafter, sheep 
numbers increased rapidly in Wyoming. With the in- 
flux of "Mexican ewes" and "New Mexican-bred" 
stock came their caretakers — Hispanic sheepherders. 


"ispanic keepers of the sheep appeared grad- 
ually on Wyoming's landscape. In many 
.instances, these sheepherders maintained 
permanent residence outside the state, making annu- 
al pilgrimages to Wyoming for six to ten months of 




By 1845 or 1846, Jim Bridger 
introduced New Mexican sheep 
to his fort in southwestern 

Some commuted indefinitely. 11 Others, 
after numerous years of part- 
time residency, moved their 
families to Wyoming perma- 
nently. 12 

The migration patterns 
of those who pursued perma- 
nent relocation to Wyoming 
paralleled Cardoso's general 
impression that the majority of 
Wyoming's Hispanics came 
from New Mexico. 13 Born in 
towns such as Taos, Mora, 
Valdez, Las Vegas, Arroyo 
Seco, and Costilla, Wyoming's 
twentieth-century Hispanic 
sheepherding population migrated directly from 
northern New Mexico to Carbon County. While this 
pattern was the predominant theme of migration, it 
was not exclusive. 

To a lesser degree, Wyoming's Hispanic sheep- 
herders were born in Mexico. These individuals usu- 
ally followed an indirect route to Wyoming. For 
instance, Antonio Juare, born in Jacona, Michoacan, 
arrived in Wyoming after first sheepherding in 

9. Phil Roberts, David L. Roberts, Steven L. Roberts, 
Wyoming Almanac, 3rd ed. (Laramie, Wyoming: Skyline West 
Press, 1994), 98; and Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails, 168-9. 

10. La Cultura Oral History Collection, cassette tapes and 
transcripts, Wyoming State Historical Research Collections, 
Cheyenne, 1981-1983, interviews with Alfredo Arellano and Jose 
Leonandro Montano (hereafter cited as La Cultura). Alicia 
Sanchez Martinez, telephone interview with author, November 
28, 1994. 

11. Dan Nelson, telephone interview with author, December 
3, 1994. 

12. La Cultura, Simonita Gold, Virginia L. Herrera, Jose 
Leonandro Montano, Pablita Sanchez Montano, and Evangeline 
Pacheco Nunez. 

13. Cardoso, "La Cultura Project." 

Winter, 1997 


Kansas. In another case, Joe Hernandez departed 
Mexico by swimming across the Rio Grande into 
Texas, then later resettling in Colorado, and eventu- 
ally walking to Wyoming. Finally, a third segment of 
Wyoming's Hispanic sheepherders moved north 
from their Colorado birthplaces, such as 
Denver and Florence. 14 

Most sheepherders, after initially 
settling near Rawlins, remained in 
south-central Wyoming due to 
Carbon County's long history 
and high concentration of 
sheep industry activity. In 
1884, James Candlish in- 
vented the sheep wagon in 
the county. 15 By 1957, Car- 
bon became the foremost 
wool-producing region in 
the United States. 16 Overall, 
Hispanic sheepherders' choi- 
ces of residences coincided 
with the distribution of sheep 
throughout Wyoming. The ma- 
jority centered near Rawlins, 
while others dispersed from Coke- 
ville to Douglas, meeting wool in- 
dustry demands. 17 

When probing the reasons 
sheepherders relocated to Wyo- 
ming, logic suggests that the politi- 
cal and economic upheavals that 
plagued the North American conti- 
nent in the early twentieth century may have had an 
influence. Mexico struggled with the decline of the 
authoritarian Porfiriato, the 1910 revolution, and sub- 
sequent decades of chaos and reconstruction. The 

14. Lawrence A. Cardoso, notes, n.d., Lawrence A. Cardoso 
papers, Box 8, American Heritage Center, University of 
Wyoming (hereafter cited as Cardoso papers); and La Cultura, 
Tony Aragon, Sr., Arellano, Pedro Carlos Armijo, Catherine Juare 
Bustos, Esther De Herrera Herrera, Virginia L. Herrera, Henry B. 
Mascarenas, Nunez, Lucas V. Pacheco, Trinidad Duran Pacheco, 
Dora Hernandez Roland, and Paul Sanchez. 

15. Bill O'Neal, Cattlemen vs. Sheepherders: Five Decades of 
Violence in the West. 1880-1920 (Austin: Eakin Press, 1989), 8; and 
Agnes Wright Spring, "Sheep Wagon Home on Wheels originat- 
ed in Wyoming," Wyoming Stockman-Farmer 46 (1940): 1 and 3. 

16. "Carbon is Nation's Top Wool-Producing County," 
Rawlins Daily Times (Wyoming), August 7, 1956, p. 1. 

17. La Cultura, Armijo, Gold, Nunez, and Victoriano E. 
Trujillo, Sr; and Martinez, interview. 

Antonio Jaure. 

(Wyoming Division 

of Cultural Resources) 

United States engaged in World War I. The Great 
Depression swept both countries into economic col- 
lapse. Cardoso's Hispanic immigration research that 
incorporates all occupations stresses these themes. 18 
Yet, interviews with Wyoming herders and their fam- 
ily members indicate that none of these stim- 
uli emerged as relocation triggers. 19 

Instead, most of the individu- 
als came to Wyoming to gain em- 
ployment in their field of experi- 
ence. 20 Alicia Sanchez Mar- 
tinez, the daughter of sheep- 
herder Jose Victor Sanchez, 
has explained that the men 
in her family had few em- 
ployment options in New 
Mexico between 1900 and 
1940. They typically became 
small-scale agriculture pro- 
ducers, contract agricultural 
workers, sheepherders, or 
railroad employees. 21 While 
New Mexico often provided 
experience for sheepherders, the 
state afforded too few opportuni- 
ties for all. Naturally, the job seeking 
population extended their employ- 
ment parameters to include out-of- 
state possibilities. 

Due to the seasonality of 
sheepherding, employment varia- 
tions were the norm. Hispanic 
sheepherders frequently engaged in ancillary work, 
usually in the form of contract agriculture. 22 Herding 
was also utilized as an interim occupation. A strong 
correlation existed between sheepherding and 
employment with the railroad. In some cases, sheep- 
herders would abandon range work completely to 
accept railroad jobs that continued for as long as thir- 

18. Lawrence A. Cardoso, Mexican Emigration to the United 
States. 1897-1931 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1980); and 
Cardoso papers, Boxes 3, 8, and 9. 

19. La Cultura, all inclusive. Dan Nelson, interview. 
Martinez, interview. 

20. La Cultural, Arellano, Gold, Virginia L. Herrera, 
Mascarenas, Lucas V. Pacheco, Roland, and Paul Sanchez. 
Martinez, interview. 

21. Martinez, interview. Cardoso papers, Box 7. 

22. La Cultura, Aragon. Martinez, interview. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

ty years. 23 When other job opportunities became elu- 
sive, sheepherding had purpose as a fall-back income 
source. 24 Then there were those who remained in 
sheepherding for significant periods of time, or for 
their entire lives, simply because they enjoyed the 
work. Tony Aragon, Sr. was 
one of those individuals. At 
the age of 86 he lived next door 
to his son near Fort Washakie 
in his preferred lifestyle — not 
in a house but in a sheep 
wagon ° r 


The nomadic and absen- 
tee aspects of sheep- 
herding did not prevent 
these men from maintaining a 
family life and home. Borre- 
geros, or sheepherders, typical- 
ly married for life fostering 
two to twelve children. 26 Be- 
cause family contact was often 
limited to the off-season, 
sheepherders' industrious and 
resourceful wives shouldered 
the responsibility of maintain- 
ing the household and raising 
children a good share of the 
year. 27 Occasionally, sheep- 
herders established land own- 
ership beyond the housing 

necessity of their families. Antonio Juare homestead- 
ed 325 acres south of Rawlins. The Trujillo family 
operated a small ranch in Douglas. 28 However, these 
two instances proved to be the exception. By far, most 
borregeros worked for sheep companies. 

One such company was Nelson Land and Live- 
stock of Kemmerer, established and operated by 

23. La Cultura, Aragon, Bustos, Esther De Herrera Herrera, 
Mascarenas, Nunez, Kate Dupont Padilla, Jo Ann Ruiz, Paul 
Sanchez, and Trujillo. Martinez, interview. 

24. La Cultura, Lucas V. Pacheco. 

25. La Cultura, Aragon, Virginia L. Herrera, Pablita Sanchez 
Montano, Jose Leonandro Montano, and Trujillo. Martinez, inter- 

26. La Cultura, all interviews. There were two exceptions. 
One sheepherder married thrice. Another could not remember 
how many children he had! 

27. Martinez, interview. 

28. La Cultura, Bustos and Trujillo. 

According to Dan Nelson . . . 
the quality of work proffered by 
Mexican sheepherders far sur- 
passed their Anglo and Basque 
counterparts. [They] continuous- 
ly scouted for the best possible 
range land. They jockeyed and 
jostled with herdsmen from 
competing companies to gain 
access to high quality pastures. 
[And lamb) losses due to preda- 
tors and mishaps were a rarity. 

Marcus D. Nelson (1899-1983). Born in southwestern 
Wyoming, Nelson was active in Wyoming's sheep 
industry from age twelve through retirement. He wit- 
nessed three ethnic phases of sheepherding in his 
sixty-six-year tenure. Anglos dominated from 1920 to 
the 1950s, Hispanics played a 
pivotal role in the 1950s and 
1960s, and Basques entered in 
the 1970s. During the Hispanic 
era, Nelson required thirty 
sheepherders to mind the 
20,000 woollies in his opera- 
tion. The Mexican Morelos 
family supplied fifteen of 
them. 29 

According to Dan 
Nelson, Marcus's son and com- 
pany participant, the quality of 
work proffered by Mexican 
sheepherders far surpassed 
their Anglo and Basque coun- 
terparts. Morelos family mem- 
bers continuously scouted for 
the best possible range land. 
They jockeyed . and jostled 
with herdsmen from compet- 
ing companies to gain access 
to high quality pastures, mov- 
ing the herd in the middle of 
the night if necessary Lamb 
crops under Mexican 
guardianship ranged from 112 to 115 percent. Losses 
due to predators and mishaps were a rarity. Mexican 
herders were generally more experienced, capable, 
and self-sufficient than others. 30 

In contrast, Nelson recalled, non-Mexican herders 
incurred substantial damages. Annual death losses 
due to predators and water hole drownings reached 
ten percent. The stock was often mishandled. One 
such incident resulted in 5,000 sheep being turned 
loose on the range. Lacking equestrian talent as well 
as herding expertise, one greenhorn saddled up his 
horse only to guide it around by a lead rope all day. 31 
Nelson could effortlessly recruit preferred His- 

29. Nelson, interview. An interesting side note: Nelson fre- 
quently loaned his friend, James Cash Penney, money in the early 
years at Kemmerer. 

30. Nelson, interview. 

31. Nelson, interview. 

Winter, 1997 


Ruben Vigil in mountain camp near Rawlins. (Wyoming Division of Cultural Resources) 

panic herders for decades via word-of -mouth. In both 
Mexico and New Mexico, sheepherding was often 
concentrated in families. Morelos sheepherders, like 
the Sanchez, Garcia, Pacheco, Trujillo, Armijo, and 
Mascarehas clans, bestowed numerous benefits on 
Wyoming's sheepmen. 32 The family induction sys- 
tem operated efficiently. It cost sheepmen very little 
time and money to send a herder to New Mexico to 
collect available recruits, as Henry B. Mascarehas 
did. 33 Sheepmen also utilized an inherent hierarchy 
among family members. Nelson Land and Livestock 
relied on the influence of Morelos elders to deliver 
junior members to the ranch when needed. Likewise, 

the experience of one family member readily trans- 
ferred to others, reducing training responsibilities 
and lessening the incidence of misfortunes. 34 

Yet despite the harmonious image associated 
with the effective family unit, being in a supervisory 
position could cause consternation. Alfredo Arellano 
served the Tom McCarty Sheep Company as a fore- 
man for four years. He left the company "porque me 
salia mucha envidia de la gente nuestra y usted sabe 
cuando no se quieren de ser manejar de un propio du 
su raza . . . mejor quitee (because Hispanics were 
envious of me and they do not want to be managed 
by one of their own race ... it is better to quit)." 35 

32. La Cultura, Armijo, Josephine Judy Armijo Candelaria, 
Gold, Virginia L. Herrera, Mascarenas, Lucas V. Pacheco, and 
Trujillo. Martinez, interview. 

33. La Cultura, Mascarenas. 

34. Nelson, interview. 

35. La Cultura, Arellano. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Wyoming's sheep industry incurred tremen- 
dous blows throughout the twentieth cen- 
tury. In contrast to national prosperity 
after World War I, Wyoming experienced an early 
depression. Deflation, drought, and an unrelenting 
winter crippled the livestock industry in 1919. At the 
same time, sheep and wool prices dropped from 
eighty to twenty-five cents per pound in the span of 
one week. 36 A decade later the already battered 
sheepmen braced for the Great Depression. 

In the World War II era, woollie raisers fared no 
better. While cattle production escalated to meet 
demands created by the war, sheep numbers declined 
between 1940 and 1945. War-imposed ceiling prices 
and foreign wool "demoralized the domestic market 
for years to come," according to Wyoming historian 
T.A. Larson 37 By 1955, the federal government initi- 
ated subsidies to rescue the ailing industry. 38 

Recent decades have proved to be no more stable. 
Lush years have been countered by predators, poison 
bans, synthetics, imported wool, and decreased meat 
consumption. 39 

Sheepherders, like any other participants in the 
industry, endured these fluctuations. Alfredo Arel- 
lano, born in 1896 in Costilla, New Mexico, was well 
incorporated into Wyoming's sheepherding business 
at the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. In a 1981 
interview, he recalled his efforts to support a family 
of six with wages of only one dollar per day. Arellano 
remembered sheep prices plummeting from eighteen 
to two cents per pound. The economic devastation 
reduced sheepmen to tears at the shipping depot. 
When sheep owner Tom McCarty required Arellano 
to return his herd to company control, Arellano lost 
access to his food and simultaneously slid into finan- 
cial paucity. "Eso eran unos dias mas triste que yo a 
pasado. Me salia al llano y me acuestaba en el 
chamiso a pensar que hacer (Those were the saddest 
days I've ever had. I would go out into the plains and 
lay down in the brush to think about what to do. I 
didn't know what to do)." 40 

Arellano and others found ways to survive. 
Sheepherding, while never lucrative, did 
enable these men to support themselves and 
their families. 41 Average annual earnings amounted 
to approximately $270 per year. 42 While wages were I 
modest, sheep companies typically provided food, 
wagons, equipped horses, and dogs. Even if the hors- 
es resembled "old saddle plugs" and the dogs were 
untrained mongrel pups, both became assets on the 
range. 43 Nominal compensation was just one way in 
which Hispanics contributed to Wyoming's sheep 
economy. Borregeros filled employment slots that 
were considered less desirable due to seasonal 
requirements. They transported Mexican and New 
Mexican sheep-handling ingenuity to Wyoming. 
Surviving the financial roller coaster ride attached to 
the industry, many continued to benefit Wyoming 
until they were replaced by containment fences and 
guard dogs. In essence, their presence fueled 
Wyoming's economy. Beyond the sheep industry, 
these men often doubled as the labor supply for other 
industries vital to Wyoming's development and pros- 
perity, namely agriculture and the railroad. They cre- 
ated second, third, and fourth generation Wyoming 
residents, serving the state in countless capacities 
such as public office, social work, teaching, banking, 
and construction. Certainly Wyoming's Hispanic 
population deserves inclusion in thewritten record of 
the equality state. M 

41. Martinez, interview. 

42. Cardoso papers, Box 8. 

43. La Cultura, Aragon, Pablita Sanchez Montano, and 
Roland. Martinez, interview. Nelson, interview. 

36. T.A. Larson, History of Wyoming, 2nd ed. (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1978), 411-13. 

37. Quote is in Larson, History of Wyoming, 487-8. Nelson 
interview concurred. 

38. Larson, History of Wyoming, 526. 

39. Larson, History of Wyoming, 526-8; Nelson, interview. 

40. La Cultura, Arellano. 

y oming 


Aunt Norn and U ncle Will 

Memories of the Downey Family of Laramie 

by Elmer ''Kim" Nelson 

When I was growing up in the 1930s on the 
high, windswept plains of Wyoming in the 
town of Laramie, I was surrounded by a 
lot of relatives from my mother's side of the family — 
the Downeys. They lived together in or near the big 
Downey house on Grand Avenue, or came to visit 
there, and to a kid each one was a singular sensory 

Aunt Katie, who was droll and satirical, seemed 
like spicy horseradish. Aunt Willie was like sweet 

Elmer "Kim " Nelson is the son of Elmer Kingsholm Nelson who 
served as the Laramie city engineer in the 1930s. After service in 
the U.S. Army during World War II, Kim Nelson completed 
degrees in law and psychology at the University of Wyoming 
and later a doctorate in public administration from the Univer- 
sity of Southern California. He served on the faculty of the 
University of British Columbia and USC. He held several policy- 
making positions in California state government and was 
appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as associate director 
of the National Crime Commission. With his wife Jane, Nelson 
makes his home in Laramie for part of each year while continu- 
ing to teach and work as a consultant and mediator. 

vanilla ice cream — just plain nice. My Uncle Corlett, 
who was a lawyer, limped around in a suffocating 
cloud of cigar smoke, one leg shorter than the other. 
He got to be the mayor of the town when I was six 
years old. Aunt June was a famous psychologist who 
taught at the University, but she seemed like sorcer- 

The Downey family of Laramie is shown above, circa 
1896. From left to right: Stephen Wheeler Downey, 
Owen Dorsey Downey, Norma Downey, Stephen Cor- 
lett Downey, Evangeline "Vanny" Downey, Willie 
Virginia Downey, Dorothy Dee Downey (appearing as 
baby in arms of her mother), Evangeline "Eva" 
Victoria Downey, Colonel Stephen Wheeler Downey, 
Alice Downey, Sheridan Downey, and June Etta 
Downey, Not shown in this picture are two daughters 
from Colonel Downey's earlier marriage to Fannie 
Fisher who died of "consumption" in Laramie in 1871. 
They were Beulah Downey and Fanchon Downey. 
(Author's Collection) 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

ess to me, working magic in her rooms upstairs, 
down from which drifted classical music and a smell 
of incense. 

The one I never had to pretend in front of, and 
who got stuck with most of the housework drudgery 
because she had a "nervous condition" that kept her 
from going out into the world, was my Aunt Norma, 
whom everyone called Norn. She was always at the 
margin of any group she was in, silenced by her shy- 
ness, and she had a big scar running across her throat 
from thyroid surgery. What Aunt Norn gave to every- 
one was love. That was the commodity in which she 
dealt, and she never paused to calculate or thought to 
bargain over what she had to offer. 

She said "chimley" for "chimney" and "fambly" 
for "family," and once she explained to me that she 
sometimes felt like a lone horse. It wasn't so much a 
malapropism as her view of life. Horses and wolves 
weren't particularly different to her if they were lone 
ones. She knew lonesome inside out. When it was just 
the two of us together, though, an old lady and a 
small boy, she told me everything she had figured out 
about the world, which was pretty much the family 
to her. Adults never seemed the same to me after I got 
the inside stuff from Aunt Norn. 

The relative who could instantly make me sit 
down and be quiet when he came to visit from Cali- 
fornia and told his incredible stories about the past 
was my Great-Uncle Will. He had been a scamp as a 
boy growing up in Laramie, and he was an audacious 
adventurer all of his life. Even a kid could see that 
Uncle Will was very taken with himself and had to 
have the center of the stage and had to climb moun- 
tains and be known for doing it. Having led the first 
party to reach the summit of the Grand Teton was the 
thing he always came back to. It was the defining 
event of his life. 

A kid could learn a lot hanging around Aunt 
Norn and Uncle Will. You could learn how Laramie 
was in the beginning, and the family too, and some 
pretty weird and scary things about both, like lynch- 
ings and what people said just before they died. You 
could learn about the heartache of the Civil War, and 
how Uncle Will's marvelous, pure white, thousand- 
pound jackass once had bested a wounded bull elk in 
a fight to the death, and why Uncle Corlett some- 
times fell down when he came home late at night. 

Billy Owen, my Great-Uncle Will, arrived in 
Laramie in a covered wagon on a June day in 
1868 after a 21-day, 450-mile wagon journey 
from Salt Lake City. He was nine years old and was 
accompanied by his mother, Sarah, and two sisters, 
Eva and Etta. Eva, then fourteen years old, was to be 
my grandmother. 

Years earlier, in 1854, Sarah and Eva had made the 
classic pioneer journey from England to New Or- 
leans, thence upstream to St. Louis, and then across 
country in a covered wagon to the newly-formed 
Mormon community of Pleasant Grove, Utah. They 
suffered privation and disease. When the teams 
became fatigued, Sarah carried babe-in-arms Eva 
"across those hot and trackless wastes, falling in utter 
exhaustion many, many times." 

Sarah Cullimore Owen, a strong-minded woman 
if ever there was one, had been recruited in England 
by the Mormon Church along with her husband, 
William Owen Owen. Once in Utah, however, in con- 
trast to her devout spouse, she became openly critical 
of the church, and especially of the practice of poly- 
gamy. As relationships deteriorated between Sarah 
and the community around her, two more babies 
were born to her and William Owen: Henrietta, 
("Etta") and Octavius (later called William and often 
"Billy", the "Uncle Will" of the present article). 

After a second marriage to one William J. Mont- 
gomery, about whom little is known, and absent 
either husband, Sarah put her three children in a cov- 
ered wagon and headed back east. During those 
rough years in Utah (and for a time in the new gold 
fields of southwestern Idaho where she ran a small 
restaurant) Sarah had evolved from the teenage girl 
to a gritty and resourceful operator on the high plains 
of the American West. She would need all of her sur- 
vival skills once they reached Wyoming. 

The father of her children, William O. Owen, had 
returned in 1860 to England and Wales as a Mormon 
missionary, where he quickly won recognition as an 
orator and converter. Other sources, however, reveal 
that he had a break with the Church of the Saints over 
events then regarded as scandalous. Within two years 
of arriving in England, Owen had been excommuni- 
cated. Much mystery remains concerning these 
events and those surrounding the death of Owen. 

Arriving in Laramie on a summer afternoon, 
Sarah, Eva, Etta and Billy parked their wagon along- 
side the river just west of town. Laramie was brand 

Winter, 1997 


new at that threshold moment in the history of the 
West, having just become the eastern railhead of the 
Union Pacific Railway. America was in upheaval, 
with the bitter residue of the Civil War washing up 
against that powerfully metaphoric border known as 
the frontier. The raw little town was sitting right 
astride that imaginary line. 

Sarah and her children settled into a tent house 
which, as winter came on, became so cold that water 
froze on the back of their constantly burning stove. 
They had somewhat better quarters by the time the 
1870 census was taken in Laramie The census reveals 
that their household included: Sarah, 33; Eva, 15; 
Etta, 13 and Will, 10. Sarah reputedly planted Lara- 
mie's "first tree" outside their abode. 

Here is what Uncle Will wrote in his memoirs 
about his first impressions of the community: 

LARAMIE! a city of tents stretched over scantling. 
I had never seen a railway before and when we 
crossed the rails to enter the town I recall my 
astonishment to find but two rails. I had always 
supposed that the cars ran in grooves, that is two 
rails on each side. 

But that revelation was nothing compared to the 
human events he was about to observe. 

The story passed down through the family has it 
that the new arrivals had been expecting to find 
someone, perhaps a lawyer, waiting in Laramie with 
funds from an inheritance to get them back to family 
roots in Tockington, England. Discovering instead 
only a rumor of a stranger who had been killed and 
robbed, they opened what Sarah chose to call "The 
Famous Restaurant," between First and Second 
streets on what is now Ivinson Avenue. It happened 
to be across the street from the center of activity in 
early Laramie — The Big Tent. 

Writing in what he called his "Reminiscences," 
Uncle Will described The Big Tent as, "a hurdy-gurdy 
of the vilest sort." Truly those were stirring times, he 
said. "Night and day we could hear the old familiar 
calls: Allemande Left . . . Balance All . . . Keno is 
Correct." And then, sitting by the front window on a 
summer day of 1868 he saw his first murder: "a rush 
of men and women from the Big Tent ... in wild dis- 
order, scattering in every direction," a pursued and a 
pursuer who fired his revolver and "dropped him in 
his tracks." He explained that Laramie had become a 
veritable hotbed of saloons, brothels, hurdy-gurdies 
and gambling joints of the toughest conceivable char- 

Downey Family Vignette 

Willie Virginia Downey married Laramie banker Roy G. 
Fitch, and during the 1930s was raising her family next door 
to the Downey home on the 1000 block of Grand Avenue. A 
parking lot now exists where the two houses stood. The 
Downey house was moved from the corner of Tenth Street 
and Grand Avenue to the north side of Laramie where it still 


Etta Owen, sister to Eva Owen Downey remained in Lara- 
mie throughout her life, tending her garden for more than 
fifty years at the corner of Fourth Street and University 
Avenue. She worked for years as County Librarian and was 
credited with starting the Woman's Club of Laramie in 1898. 
She became the mother of Neale Roach and Katherine Roach 
Peckenpaugh. Neale Roach became a major figure in timber, 
ranching and real estate operations in and around Laramie 
during some eighty-five years as a resident. 


Alice Downey Nelson became the family historian of her 
generation and wrote what Alice Stevens called, "a charming 
account of family life of the period and of the amusing and 
happy experiences of the exuberant family of ten children." 


Sheridan Downey may have been the most colorful of the 
ten children. A family story holds that he locked the Board of 
Trustees of the University of Wyoming in their meeting room 
where they languished for some hours before being rescued. 
He and his brother Stephen went to the University of 
Michigan where they completed law school. Sheridan began 
a public career by winning the race for district attorney of 
Albany County, but his obituary notes that, "his reform 
efforts failed." He then joined his brother, Stephen, in the the 
practice of law in Sacramento, California. Sheridan became 
interested in the "End Poverty in California" (EPIC) scheme 
of author Upton Sinclair. When Sinclair ran for governor of 
California in 1934, Downey was his running mate for lieu- 
tenant governor and topped the ticket with over one million 
votes, but EPIC lost. In 1938 Sheridan Downey won the 
Democratic nomination for the U. S. Senate. He drew many 
votes from the movement started by a client of his, Dr. 
Francis E. Townsend, whose adherents advocated a pension 
plan predicated on "Ham and Eggs/' or "Thirty Dollars 
Every Thursday." Downey served two terms in the U. S. 
Senate, but illness forced him out of the 1950 senatorial race 
and he resigned one month before his term expired. This 
gave a valuable leg-up in seniority to his successor, a 
38-year-old Republican Congressman named Richard M. 


Stephen Downey became a distinguished attorney specializ- 
ing in water law and the senior partner of a prestigious 
Sacramento law firm which exists to this day. Like his hither, 
Colonel Downey, he became greatly admired in family and 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

acter. "Barroom bums, thugs, garroters, holdups, 
thieves and murderers from railway towns to the 
eastward" had taken control of the town. 

Telling the story, Uncle Will would pause dramat- 
ically at this point. "But then," he said, "a thunder- 
bolt came from a clear sky. The day of judgment had 
arrived for the criminals who for so long had terror- 
ized the little town." We kids all hunched forward. 
We knew we were about to hear again, from one who 
had seen it happen, the gruesome story of how the 
vigilantes reclaimed the town. 

On October 18, 1868 three ringleaders of the 
toughs, Asa Moore, Con. Wager and "Big Ned" 
Wilson were captured. "These were taken to an old 
log barn in the rear of John Keane's home and hung." 

The three men were not strangers to young Billy 
Owen. Seeing them hanging there, he was impressed 
that they were dressed "just as they were in life, just 
as we boys knew them." Asa Moore was immediate- 
ly recognizable by the band of red flannel he always 
wore around his neck. Two of the three had, in fact, 
been star boarders at The Famous Cafe. "Your grand- 
mother," Uncle Will said of his sister Eva, "waited on 
their table many, many times; and I have heard her 
say more than once that never in her life had she met 
more gentlemenly men than were Asa Moore and 
Con. Wager." 

Billy Owen was admitted to West Point in 1877 
but apparently things did not work out there. 
Submitting to discipline was not his strong suit. By 
the following year he was starting a long career as a 
frontier surveyor. His stories were about his own 
adventures, and those of people he knew well, out in 
the great, wondrous, still-wild land that extended for 
hundreds of miles to the west and the north. 

He told about working as a surveyor in the valley 
of the North Platte and having almost been killed in 
the Ute Indian uprising of 1879, and the great ride his 
friend, Jo Rankin, had made to get help. He wrote a 
long, rollicking story about having made the first 
bicycle trip through Yellowstone Park, and right out- 
side, leaning against the house was the bike he had 
used, with a huge front wheel and a tiny rear one. He 
wrote with great gusto and a sense of wonderment, 
the same way he lived his life. 

He laid out boundaries in the Sheep Mountain 
and Centennial country near Laramie, and then 
moved west to the area of the North Platte River, 
French Creek and the traditional Indian country 

In his later years, Billy Owen demonstrated the high- 
wheeled bicycle he had used on what he described as 
"the first bicycle trip in Yellowstone National Park." 
He wrote of a stiff climb to the top of the Continental 
Divide and then a "rather rapid descent .... 
[T]hrozuing our legs over handlebars we began our ■ 
first 'coast' of our trip. . . . The road was hard and 
smooth and we fairly flew down the east slope of the 
great Continental Divide on the first bicycles that 
ever crossed this natural wall." Seeing a party of 
Indians ahead and not knowing whether they were 
friendly or not, "we shot by with the speed of an 
express train before they had time to realize what had 
happened." (Author's Collection) 

around Grand Encampment. He surveyed the Wind 
River Mountains, and along the Green River. In 1892 
and 1893, he made the first government surveys done 
in the country of the Tetons. He had first heard of the 
Grand Teton ten years earlier while camping with 
one-time Wyoming governor John W. Hoyt. "If you 
want to climb a real mountain," Hoyt had told him, 
"Just try your hand on that peak." He admitted that 
the idea gradually became an obsession. The greatest 
mountain in the country, the crown jewel of "the Alps 

Winter, 1997 


of America," had never been climbed. 

In 1891, accompanied by his wife, my Aunt Em- 
ma, and climbing from the Idaho side, he attained a 
point only 700 feet below the summit. Looking down, 
he got his "first peep" at the Jackson Hole country. 
Then, after numerous attempts over a period of seven 
years, he and three others reached the summit on 
August 11, 1898. 

They named a mountain for him, Mt. Owen, 
which stands beside and northeasterly of the Grand 
Teton. Immensely proud, he described his namesake 
as a "splendid granite spire, the sharpest pinnacle of 
all the Teton peaks," and he wrote a poem about it in 
1927 called "The Naming of Mt. Owen." 1 He also 
contrived to name a lovely lake in the area after his 
wife, calling it Lake Emma Matilda. He made a sec- 
ond ascent of the Grand Teton in 1924, one day after 
his 65th birthday. Billy Owen still has quite a few 
admirers around Jackson Hole. The Jackson Hole 
Historical Society and Museum holds copies of his 
survey field notes, and convincing documentation of 
his claim of having made the first ascent. 

The big difference when I was around Aunt 
Norn was that I got to do a lot of the talking. 
Actually, we read out loud a lot, going through 
all of the original "Oz" books written by L. Frank 
Baum, with their archetypal figures of good and evil 
encountered by Dorothy and her companions quest- 
ing along the Yellow Brick Road; then moving on to 
the brazenly male Tarzan books and the ones about 
clever Tom Swift. Great stuff! Norn really preferred 
Robert Louis Stevenson, however, and got me hook- 
ed on Treasure Island, and then we got into Dickens 
and Mark Twain. 

Her favorite poem was the one about Barbara 
Fritchie, the lady who shamed and faced down the 
Confederate troops in the Civil War. "Shoot if you 
must this old gray head but spare your country's flag 
she said." I can see Norn now, shaking her own old 
gray head and giving a spirited rendition of those 
lines. I was her private audience. 

There was a long period when the two of us were 
trying, with acoustical experiments, to ascertain the 
exact difference between a moan and a groan, both of 
which abounded in the books we read together. 

1. The poem includes such lines as "Thy brow no human 
foot ever pressed! No flag e'er fluttered from thy crest!") 

Initially, this brought alarmed relatives to the door of 
Norn's room. Having done the research, I can give 
you the results: You may think you are groaning, or 
think you are moaning, but no one else can tell the 
difference, and they get sick and tired of being asked. 
Except for Aunt Norn. 

During that time, when I was a kid, I would walk 
east to the city limits and then keep going until I 
could look back and see the town grown small in the 
vast expanse of plains and mountains. There was my 
everyday world, appearing insignificant against the 
great calm swell of earth and sky. 

You could see the Laramie River, its banks lined 
with cottonwood trees, and on the western horizon 
just beyond the Big Hollow, the snowy peaks of the 
Medicine Bows. You could mark the route of the 
Overland Trail that carried covered wagons and 
brought my relatives into town. You could see 
steam-powered locomotives chugging along the 
Union Pacific tracks, and little moving dots that were 
cars on the Lincoln Highway. Some days you could 
see a plume of smoke to the north, rising off the city 

I was trying, as all kids must do, to figure out 
what I had gotten into. The people in the town had 
different stories inside their heads about the past and 
different dreams for the future, and their fears were 
different too. You could see that right away with 
Uncle Will and Aunt Norn. Uncle Will was a believer 
in Manifest Destiny. He sought dominion in both the 
human and the natural worlds, and he feared the loss 
of control. Aunt Norn feared what happened when 
people got control, even the civilized people, maybe 
especially them. 

Sometimes I would ride my bike out to the city 
dump very early in the morning. The sun would just 
be rising over Sherman Hill and the scene would be 
surreal, the open, graceful prairie emerging from the 
darkness and the stinking dump belching out its 
smoky meal of things the town no longer wanted. 

One morning, when it was still pretty dark, I saw 
an old car approach the smoldering edge of the 
dump. It maneuvered around me and then a man 
and woman got out. They were dressed in old, 
grungy clothes, topped with heavy coats and hats, 
and they had two dogs with ropes around their 
necks, puppies actually. Each dragged a dog toward 
the firey brink and then, before I was aware of what 
was happening, I heard the crack of two .22 rifle 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

shots. It was the town dog catchers. I had the childish 
notion, amidst the smoke and fire and all, that I had 
caught a glimpse of hell. 

I never told Aunt Norn what I had seen because I 
didn't want to see the look she would get on her face. 
Eventually the memory fell into the same place in my 
mind as Uncle Will's story about the hanging of Long 
Steve. It was a place where I kept some things I did- 
n't want to think about but kept doing it anyway. 
Uncle Will liked to tell the story of Long Steve, in fact 
I think it was his favorite, except for climbing the 
Grand Teton. When he started telling it, Norn would 
get a look on her face of terrible sadness. 

The morning after Asa Moore and Con. Wager 
had been hanged, Uncle Will explained, he was out 
with a friend watching what was going on. They saw 
a body of men coming down the street, and noticed 
something ominous in the way they behaved. The 
men entered a saloon owned by one Major Sears and 
when they emerged they had in their midst a man 
known as Long Steve who was talking excitedly. 
They also had a coil of rope. 

Apparently Long Steve was one of several men 
captured by the vigilantes the night before and 
released on their promise to leave town at once. He 
had failed to keep that promise. "Boy-like," Uncle 
Will said, he and his chum followed close enough to 
hear every word that was said. Long Steve was 
pleading for his life. "He begged and implored them 
to let him go and if I live to be a hundred, I shall 
never forget his pitiful appeal to those self-constitut- 
ed enforcers of the law. 'Boys,' he said, 'for God's 
sake let me go and I'll start right down that railroad 
track and never stop till I get to Omaha.' 

"When Long Steve found there was no hope left 
he asked to take his boots off before they hung him 
and was allowed to do so. They then crossed the 
street to a telegraph pole which stood near the Union 
Pacific Railway Company's oil house and executed 
the poor wretch in the presence of a large crowd." 
Uncle Will explained that his sister, my grandmother, 
had watched from the back, "but we boys had to 
have orchestra seats." 

Aunt Norn and Uncle Will have both been 
dead for a long time now, and so have all the 
other relatives I knew in the old Downey 
house when I was a kid. Sometimes when I am back 
in Laramie I go out to Greenhill Cemetery and visit 

them at the family plot. When I stand there and read ! 
the grave stones I start hearing their voices again. I 
picture them sitting around after dinner, playing: 
pinochle, laughing and having fun, arguing about 
politics or listening to my grandmother and Uncle j 
Will tell about the things they saw when Laramie was 
just getting started. 

Uncle Corlett is lying there under a stone. He< 
died in the middle of an exhausting, bitterly fought 
murder case in which he was defending a rancher 
charged with killing his neighbor. The Boomerang said 
he was a man whose name stood for courage and I 
uprightness and stainless honor, and that "he served ! 
on behalf of the public weal." 

Aunt June is there. She died of cancer much too 
soon, for she was writing seminal books and articles, 
as well as poems and songs and plays, and managed 
to achieve the curious distinction of being listed (with 
a star by her name) in American Men of Science. She 
wrote the Alma Mater of the University, both the 
evocative words and the haunting music. She got a 
huge send-off from the town, especially her students. 
Wyoming poet and writer, Ted Olson, said that she 
was "intuitive, elusive and quicksilvery" and had 
both a "sedate twinkle" and "a vein of roguishness," 
and that she had the great teacher's gift of "making 
you think and talk better than you really knew how 
to do." Standing there looking at her grave, she still | 
seems like a sorceress to me, keeping her Great Book I 
of Records just like Glinda the Good in the "Oz" sto- 
ries Aunt Norn and I used to read together. 

Of course my grandmother, Eva, is there. She was 
born to make it in the world; dominant but sociable, 
artistic yet practical. Her last report card from gram- 
mar school gave her a mere "83" in Orthography, but 
she scored "100" in Conduct, and her seventy years 
of life as an exemplary citizen of Laramie caused 
Alice Stevens to write that "no name is more revered 
[in Laramie] than that of Eva Owen Downey." While 
she and her mother were both quite dauntless, they 
were opposites in temperament. Eva was the extro- 
vert, and Sarah, according to June Downey, "an emo- 
tional introvert to the last degree compatible with 
social living." 

Talking to Aunt Norn and Uncle Will as a kid I 
had learned something fascinating which was that 
my grandmother may have married my grandfather, 
Stephen W. Downey, in competition with her own 
mother, the redoubtable Sarah. He was a romantic 

Winter, 1997 


Wyoming," and as a kid just being introduced to the 
logistics of sex I used to wonder, though never daring 
to ask, just how he could accomplish that. 

He died suddenly, and broke. The Laramie Daily 
Boomerang referred to Grandfather's financial prob- 
lems rather delicately by saying that he had "an 
unbounded faith in the mineral resources of the 
Laramie region, particularly in a gold mine at 
Centennial." The mine was 
going great until, suddenly, the 
vein ran out. According to a 
newspaper report, he had sold a 
half interest in the mine for 
$100, 000, immediately after 
which the vein faulted. Colonel 
Downey returned the funds to 
the purchasers who had arrived 
from the east. "Happy men? 
Well yes they were," Isac 
Lambing the first postmaster at 
Centennial was reported as say- 
ing. "They seized my hands and 
danced around." But it was a 
financial calamity for the 
Downey family. 

The Colonel, while much 

admired as a peacemaker and a 

mentor, was not always known 

for being practical. As 

Wyoming's territorial delegate 

to Congress in 1879-1880, he 

inserted in The Congressional 

Record a poem he had written, 

more than fifty pages of blank 

verse entitled "The Immortals." 

Though the flowery lines had 

no clear relevance to legislative 

matters, they reflected his constant drive to inspire 

and uplift those around him. He would often write 

the words, "Arise and Conquer" at the top or bottom 

of his personal letters and in the fly leaf of books he 

gave as presents. 

His death left it up to Eva — who was 4'8" and 
weighed perhaps 80 pounds — to put the ten chil- 
dren through college. She did it largely by 
hand-painting lovely china to sell and firing the 
pieces in a kiln in the basement of the Downey house, 
where it competed for space during prohibition years 
often referred to as "the Father of the University of with Uncle Corlett's stash of "near-beer." Eva's chil- 

Civil War colonel from Maryland, just starting to 
practice law in Laramie. He was a lot older than Eva 
and not so much younger than Sarah. Uncle Will, 
who never seemed to miss anything, admitted that he 
had his ear to the parlour door when the Colonel 
came by, to ask for the hand of eighteen-year-old Eva, 
and heard Sarah explode with anger. 

Sarah became a wanderer and went off to the 
Orient and other mysterious 
places by herself and turned 
more eccentric and skeptical and 
reclusive than ever. Aunt June 
said that she had heard her 
grandmother described as, "A 
Terrible Unbeliever," and wrote 
that she had "a penetrating intel- 
lect that led her to question the 
accepted beliefs of her day." My 
Aunt Dorothy told me not long 
before she died about being 
dressed up as a tiny girl and 
taken over to meet her formida- 
ble grandmother who had 
returned from one of her trips. 
As an old lady herself, Dorothy 
had no trouble recalling Sarah's 
acerbic greeting: "Not another 

Colonel Stephen W. Downey 
has the central spot in the family 
plot under a huge marble slab, 
and the others are more or less 
deployed around him. He was a 
notable figure in Wyoming his- 
tory — a visionary and kind 
man, a powerful orator, a poet 
and a jury lawyer. Newspaper 
accounts say that Eva met him by showing up at the 
convening in Laramie of the nation's first women's 
jury. He was the prosecuting attorney and argued 
against allowing service on juries by "the gentler 
sex." Wyoming historian T.A. Larson reports, never- 
theless, that he was an eloquent champion of 
women's rights. 

Colonel Downey and Eva had ten children, 
including Aunt Norn and my mother, Alice, who is 
right there in the cemetery too, along with my Danish 
father, Elmer Kingsholm Nelson. Grandfather was 

Norma Downe 

iy, 'Aunt Norn 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

dren used to call her "Little Napoleon/' though never 
to her face. She and her mother had a somewhat 
chilly relationship over their long adult lives, but 
there they are, lying close together in the family plot, 
which seems fitting. After all, Eva got part way there 
by being carried by Sarah "across the trackless 
wastes" of the high plains and the Rocky Mountains. 
So said Uncle Will. 

Aunt Norn is there. I brought her ashes up to 
Greenhill Cemetery myself after she died in Califor- 
nia. She was loved by all who knew her, but especial- 
ly by those who were children in her care. While oth- 
ers might see kids as trials or pests, and not without 
cause, Norn saw each one she took into her private 
world as akin to the Divine Child of ancient folklore. 
She knew just how to coax them out of deepest cover, 
out to play, perhaps because she never had surren- 
dered the child inside herself. 

Norma Downey always put herself on the side of 
the vulnerable ones, kids and dogs, the shy and the 
eccentric, and when the depression years came along, 
the out-of-luck men who started coming down 
Grand Avenue and passed the word that she would 
give them a feed. The gift of love even went to the 
child still robustly alive inside of Uncle Will after he 
had become an old and exceedingly difficult man. 
When his morning eggs, which she prepared with 
infinite care, were returned again and again as, "too 
hard" or "too soft," her patience still endured. 

My Great-Uncle Will is not buried at Greenhill 
Cemetery in Laramie. In fact for quite a long time 
members of my generation were unable to locate his 
burial place, which was frustrating because he was so 
extraordinarily interesting. Then my tenacious 
cousins found his grave in Tucson. 

It looked as though he kept moving south as he 
got older, following the sun. And his letters show, 
with the writing growing shaky, that he was running 
out of money as well as the vigorous health he had 
always enjoyed. Well off before the great depression, 
his wealth disappeared with the collapse of the bond 
market and in the end, according to Alice Downey, he 
had only the exquisite jewelry collection which he 
had purchased from Tiffany's for his devoted wife, 

Wyoming occupied the deepest place in his heart. 
On an occasion in 1929 commemorating his first 
ascent of the Grand Teton he commented on the years 
he spent in Los Angeles, saying: "I fell under the spell 

of that balmy, listless, seductive climate," but then 
added, ". . my heart still finds sanctuary in Wyoming, 
in her grass carpeted valleys, among her giant peaks 
and fragrant pines, her forests and crystal lakes. And 
I do not forget her people for among them are some 
of the best and truest friends I have ever known." 

Toward the end of his life, he became increasing- 
ly embittered by a controversy that existed over 
whether another man actually had been the first to 
climb the Grand Teton. It would have pleased him 
enormously to know that history would take his side. 
In chronicling his accomplishments, he listed his pro- 
fessional achievements proudly, but chose to define 
himself during the final years as "a writer and a 

Perhaps, taken together, Aunt Norn and Uncle 
Will personified the qualities that brought about the 
settlement of the West. For Uncle Will, it was the rest- 
less probing of the mysteries of the new land, the 
spirit of conquest, the life on the edge. For Aunt 
Norn, it was the tending of the center, provision of 1 
the human glue, the bonds of kindness, humor andl 
civility, that held the whole together. 

When I was a boy the Laramie paper published 
poetry under a heading called "Thorns and Roses," 
and I still have a clipping, all yellowed with age, a. 
poem called "Dust." The last two verses are: 

Is it not much to have dreamed so well — 

Out of the stark gray clod? 
Out of the dust to have conjured a spell 
That can bring man near to God? 

Dust at the end of all things we plan, 

Gray dust that the wind blows wide. 
Yet great are the dust-wrought dreams of man 
And it is the dreams that abide. 

Visiting your relatives in a graveyard, being suf- 
fused by memories from long ago, can raise thoughts 
of impermanence and finality. A melancholy mood 
might steal over you. There were the happy times, 
and the ones that were sad, the bitter and the sweet. 
But if it is truly the dreams that abide, you might turn 
for solace to those splendid dreamers from the past, 
lying so patiently all around you. They befriended 
you before and might do it again. You could picture 
them smiling at you, just as they did in life, and say- 
ing, "Dream Away." It would be still another ances- 
tral gift to go with the ones you lucked into, back 
when you were a kid. & 

Winter, 1997 


Book Reviews 

Significant recent books on Western and Wyoming Hisi 
Edited by Carl Hallberg 

Beyond the Bozeman Trail: 

The Story of Captain Alexander Wishart 

oy Walter K. MacAdam 

<v + 216 pages 

West Lebanon: Westways Publishing, 1996 

Paper, $17.95 

Books about the American Indian Wars have usu- 
ally followed the theme of soldier fighting Indian. 
Walter MacAdam's book, the life of Alexander Wis- 
hart, is more about solder fighting soldier. Alexander 
Wishart was an unconventional army officer who be- 
came a casualty not of battle but of army bureaucrat- 
ic incompetency and was a victim of small, narrow- 
minded military leaders who had no regard for indi- 
vidual rights. 

MacAdam chronicles Wishart's principled, reli- 
gious family upbringing in Washington, Pennsyl- 
vania. Born during a time of social reform and con- 
flict, Wishart acquired a personal character of moral 
right and dissent. His education, with a strong reli- 
gious foundation, included private tutoring, public 
school, college preparatory school at the age of 
twelve, and two years of Washington College. Wis- 
hart excelled in college, majored in law and English, 
and graduated with honors in 1852. 

MacAdam briefly mentions that Wishart also 
attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis for a 
year before graduating from Washington College. 
Unfortunately, MacAdam ignores what happened to 
Wishart. Annapolis was Wishart's first exposure to 
the disciplined and dogmatic military profession, 
and in later life Wishart would stubbornly combat 
this bureaucracy to clear his name and honor. 

Upon graduation from college Wishart volunteer- 
ed for the Pennsylvania state militia. The reader is 
not told why he did so. He was elected by the men of 
Washington to command the local company and by 
the time war broke out between the North and the 
South he had attained the rank of captain. Wishart's 
Civil War experience was cut short during the Penin- 
sula Campaign at the Battle of Gaine's Mill. A wound 

to his face forced him to take a medical discharge in 

Five years later Wishart was in the army again, 
this time at Fort Phil Kearney. MacAdam relates that 
Wishart was unable to teach because of his severe 
injury. Unable to speak and hear properly, he found 
that only the military offered a paying career. 
Stationed along the Bozeman Trail as a second lieu- 
tenant Wishart experienced garrison duty at that ill- 
fated fort, though the reader garners very little in 
new information about the brief time he was there. 
Wishart's military career from 1866 until his forced 
dismissal in 1880 was banal. 

Compelled to leave the army under absurd 
charge of drunkenness while on duty, Wishart tried 
his hands at newspaper writing and later law 
enforcement. During this time Wishart continued to 
protest his army discharge, filing numerous petitions 
for vindication to politicians and presidents. In the 
end Wishart found that military intransigence was as 
lethal as a Confederate bullet. 

To truly enjoy and appreciate this book, the read- 
er needs to have a strong interest and background in 
the history of this period. This is a story of one minor 
participant in the Indian Wars Army, a company- 
grade officer. MacAdam does well in recording fami- 
ly history, but his work lacks analysis about Wishart's 
military abilities. Neither does the reader does know 
how Wishart felt about slavery or the military. A more 
thorough research of opinions from fellow officers or 
civilians pertaining to Wishart's personality and 
competence would enhance this survey of the man. 

Despite these deficiencies, MacAdam's book pro- 
vides a useful account about the U.S. Army in the 
West, one that was cruel to its own men just as it was 
to the indigenous people it fought. The general pub- 
lic interested in the Indians Wars will find this book 
helpful in learning about a military theme ignored by 
many historians. 

Reviewed by Heyward Schrock, Wyoming State 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal w 

Buffalo Bill's Town in the Rockies: 
A Pictorial History of Cody, Wyoming 

by Jeannie Cook, Lynn Houze, Bob Edgar 
and Paul Fees 

192 pages, illustrations, bibliography, index 
Virginia Beach: The Donning Company, 1996. 
Cloth, $34.95. 

This centennial history is a "coffee table" book, 
slightly oversized and, as the title suggests, filled 
with photographs. As such, it is a "scrapbook" histo- 
ry in which pictures tell the story. It is filled with 
glances at significant people, places, and events but 
leaves profound gaps in the story and does not 
undertake a professional historical analysis of politi- 
cal, social, economic, or cultural developments. 

Only the first two chapters are accompanied with 
a "lengthy" narrative. Chapter One includes a five- 
page account about the life of Buffalo Bill by Dr. Paul 
Fees, senior curator of the Buffalo Bill Historical 
Center. Chapter Two, written by Bob Edgar, local his- 
torian and founder of Trail Town located near Cody, 
details the history of the area prior to the establish- 
ment of Cody in 1896. His twenty-six page survey 
describes the archeology of the Big Horn Basin, then 
briefly discusses in succession the prehistoric and 
historic Indian settlements, the coming of fur trap- 
pers and traders, prospectors, cowboys and despera- 
does, and concludes with the construction of the 
Cody irrigation canal that set the stage for farmers 
and town builders. 

The remaining ten chapters handle an individual 
decade from 1896-1996. Each chapter consists of a 
one-page narrative introduction that highlights 
momentous events such as natural disasters, busi- 
ness openings, construction projects, and the family 
history of Buffalo Bill and his descendants. Park 
County Historical Society Archives Curator Jeannie 
Cook compiled the photographs and wrote associat- 
ed historical scripts for the first fifty years of the his- 
tory of Cody and Assistant Curator Lynn Houze 
reviewed the last half century. 

A succinct script accompanies each of the black 
and white photographs — only the dust jacket has 
color pictures. The number and variety of pho- 
tographs is greater for the years 1896-1936 than for 
1936-1996. In staccato fashion the photographs pre- 

sent glimpses into the social, economic, and cultural) IS 
development of the town and its surrounding area.,e< 
Individual pictures present the town, people (rich,|i 
famous, and powerful, as well as average citizens);|( 
businesses, buildings, and homes. They also convey 1 
the town's relationship to the adjoining agricultural; 
mineral, and sporting hinterland, as well as nearby 
Yellowstone National Park. 

Professional historians will find this scrapbook I 
useful as they interpret photographs that take them 1 
from the days of the fur traders (only five pictures' 
deal with Native Americans of the area) to those of | 
the cattlemen, the miners, and the farmers, to those of 
the mud-flat town, and finally to those of the modern 
small town. Teachers of western and urban history 
will be overjoyed at this treasure trove of pictorial 
resources. Finally, history buffs interested in the West 
and in urban development will greatly appreciate 
this book. 

Reviewed by Dennis N. Mihelich, Creighton University f 

Custer's First Sergeant: John Ryan 

by Sandy Barnard 

xii + 284 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index 
Terre Haute: AST Press, 1996 
Cloth, $34.95 

In light of the typical Custeriana, this book is 
unusual. It is a biography about an enlisted man, 
based in part on his own written recollections of his 
experiences; first as a teenage private in the Civil War, 
then his ten years as a non-commissioned officer in 
the 7th U.S. Cavalry. 

At sixteen, John Ryan enlisted in the all-Irish 28th 
Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 
January, 1862. When this three-year unit's time was 
up, it had one of the highest casualty rates in the 
Union Army. Near the end of his enlistment Ryan 
himself was seriously wounded. Nevertheless, at the 
end of his enlistment, he enlisted for one year in the 
61st Massachusetts Infantry. He marched with the 
regiment in the Grand Victory Review of the Army of 
the Potomac in Washington on May 23, 1865. 

He enlisted in the regular army on November 23, 

VlNTER, 1997 


.866, and was assigned to Company M of the newly- 
established 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. Although he 
lever rose above private during his entire Civil War 
iervice, Ryan immediately was promoted to corporal 
he day he reenlisted. The 7th Cavalry was organiz- 
ng at Fort Riley, Kansas, with companies spread 
tmong other posts in Kansas and Colorado. From its 
jrganization until after the battle at Little Big Horn, 
tyan took part in almost every one of the 7th's expe- 
iitions and engagements. He proved to be a depend- 
ible leader and a cool fighter and rose through the 
•anks to become M Company's First Sergeant. 

In the Battle of the Little Big Horn, M Company 
vas in Reno's command. Ryan survived Reno's val- 
ey fight and the two-day siege on Reno-Benteen Hill 
mscathed. He led M Company's detachment of the 
?urial party and helped identify and bury General 
uster and his brother, Tom. 

In December, 1876, after fourteen years of service, 
)ne serious wound during the Civil War, and partici- 
pation in a total of thirty-seven battles or engage- 
ments, Ryan decided to leave the service. While his 
•vound made it increasingly difficult for him to ride, 
:he trauma of Little Big Horn played a part in his 
iecision as well. He returned to West Newton, 
Vlassachusetts, where he joined the police force, serv- 
ng 35 years and retiring as a captain. 

The Battle of the Little Big Horn was the apex of 
Ryan's life. Particularly as he grew older, he wrote 
articles for various newspapers and entered into 
extensive correspondence with Libby Custer, Walter 
2amp, and others. It is upon these surviving records 
hat the author has based much of the book. 

Unfortunately, Ryan did not record his Civil War 
experiences except for affidavits in his pension 
-ecords and occasional passing remarks in newspa- 
per interviews. Barnard, however, devotes almost 
Dne-third of the book to Ryan's Civil War service. In 
reality, this section of the book is a thoroughly- 
jresearched history about the 28th Massachusetts 
Volunteer Infantry more than it is about Ryan's war 
experiences — that is largely left to the reader's imag- 

Ryan's narratives of his 7th Cavalry experiences 
are more individual and personal. The author also 
leshed them out with extensive research into other 
sources. This part of the book is a more personally 
focused story than is the segment covering the Civil 
War. While this book does not have the sense of 

immediacy of Sherry Smith's Sagebrush Soldier, it does 
give good insight into post-Civil War army life from 
the enlisted man's point of view. It is interesting to 
note that Ryan also figures in two other books pub- 
lished in 1996: William O. Taylor's With Custer on the 
Little Big Horn and Louise Barnett's Touched by Fire. 

This book is well written, thoroughly researched 
and has an excellent bibliography. It is valuable addi- 
tion to the study of Custer, and to the field of western 
military history in general. 

Reviewed by Murray L. Carroll, Anacortes, Washington 

David E. Jackson, Field Captain of the Rocky 
Mountain Fur Trade 

by Vivian Linford Talbot 

138 pages, bibliography, index, maps 

Jackson: Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, 1996 

Paper, $5.95 

The man for whom Jackson's Hole, Wyoming is 
named, David Edward Jackson, was born in 1788 in 
Virginia. Of Scotch-Irish ancestry, he was a member 
of a frontier family of hunters, millers, and politicians 
that also produced Civil War General "Stonewall" 
Jackson. He married in 1809 and eight years later left 
his family of five for Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, where 
lead mining and other pursuits promised a fortune. 
There he met Andrew Henry and William Ashley, 
and when the two men formed a fur trading partner- 
ship in 1822, Jackson became their clerk. During the 
next four years, Jackson labored in the Rocky 
Mountain West, accepting more responsibility and 
growing in knowledge about the business. 

On July 18, 1826, Jackson and partners Jedidiah 
Smith and William Sublette paid Ashley $7,821 for 
trading stock and started their own firm. While Smith 
commanded a fur brigade and looked for new trap- 
ping areas, Sublette managed the transportation sys- 
tem and Jackson handled operations in the field. 
After four years the triumvirate sold their interest to 
the newly formed Rocky Mountain Fur Company for 
$16,000 and became its supplier. During its existence, 
Smith, Sublette & Jackson had opened up vast areas 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journai 

of the West and kept British imperialist designs in 
check, competing successfully with the Hudson's Bay 
Company in disputed Oregon Country. 

Jackson returned to the States in October, 1830, 
where he continued in partnership with Sublette. In 
July, 1831, he made a trip to Santa Fe with trade 
goods and then traveled to California to buy horses 
and mules for resale in Texas and Louisiana. 
Although returns from the journey were meager, the 
trip demonstrated the trade's potential. After 1833, 
Jackson dabbled in mining and real estate, dying on 
Christmas Eve in 1837 in Paris, Tennessee, nearly des- 
titute and far from home. 

This is the second biography of David E. Jackson 
to appear in three years. The first was Shadow on the 
Tetons: David E. Jackson and the Claiming of the West 
(Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing, 1993). 
Written by John C. Jackson, a relative of the trapper- 
trader-entrepreneur, the book relied on papers col- 
lected by the family, as well as material found in the 
Hudson's Bay Archives in Manitoba and in the 
provincial archives in British Columbia. Besides 
fleshing out the life of a significant fur trader of the 
1820s, the book is important for the knowledge it 
brings about the plans and practices of the Hudson's 
Bay Company and the grand British strategy for suc- 
cess in the trade. 

The latest volume by Vivian Linford Talbot adds 
to our knowledge about Jackson through her research 
of the fur trade papers at the Missouri Historical 
Society and notes that the prominent fur trade histo- 
rian Dale Morgan had collected before his death. Her 
study is important in that it provides new details con- 
cerning the life of this shadowy figure. For example, 
he did serve in the war of 1812 and he did go West 
with Ashley in 1822. Unfortunately, much of the text 
is devoted to speculating on the meaning of the evi- 
dence presented, which detracts from the story. Taken 
together, the studies by Talbot and Jackson give us a 
rounded picture of an important figure in Wyoming's 
fur trade history. 

Reviewed by John D. McDermott, Sheridan, Wyoming 

Overland: The California Emigrant Trail oj 

by Greg MacGregor 

xvi + 208 pp., illustrations, notes 

Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996 

Cloth, $75.00; paper, $25.00. 

Overland: The California Emigrant Trail ofl841-187C 
presents a photographic essay about the California! 
Trail. The book contains an introduction by western 
historian Walter Truett Anderson, the author 'si 
methodological description, an historical overview! 
and 83 photographs organized into major trail seg-; 
ments. Each plate is accompanied by excerpted mate- 
rial from published contemporary trail guides and 
emigrant diaries. 

This attractive horizontal format book is based on 
published materials. The author references standard 
works of trail historians Merrill J. Mattes, Aubrey 
Haines, George Stewart, John MacFargher, and John 
D. Unruh, among others, to provide background and 
context. There is no evidence of primary research. 

MacGregor traveled along the remains of the 
California trail from Independence (although the 
author acknowledges that emigrants left from other 
places in the Missouri valley) to Sacramento. His 
wide angle black and white photographs illustrate 
trail remnants (swales), deep ruts in rock, natural 
landmarks (Independence Rock), perils of river cross-, 
ings, deserts, and ascents /descents in the Sierras. 

The photographs of the stark landscape convey 
several lessons. First, this early transportation system 
provided a route westward, succeeded by railroads 
and modern highways. Today Interstate 80 follows 
lengthy portions of the trail corridor in Nebraska, 
Nevada, and California. Second, the photographs 
demonstrate achievement of the dream that enticed 
many Americans westward. Present day communi 
ties, industries, recreational developments, and trans- 
portation systems in the California Trail corridor 
illustrate the economic success spawned by west- 
ward migration. Although much present day devel- 
opment is not aesthetically pleasing, MacGregor 's 
photographs depict the evolution of economic 
processes unleashed by the pioneers. Whether inten- 
tional or not, the photos illustrate costs — environ- 
mental degradation and rampant development — the 

Winter, 1997 


lark side of economic progress. MacGregor 's pho- 
:ographs become a not-too-subtle paean to the new 
western history. 

While the book makes an important visual contri- 
bution to knowledge about the California Trail (espe- 
lially once the Mormon and Oregon trails diverged), 
lumerous factual errors make it suspect for use and 
enjoyment by western historians and trail experts. 
The author must take responsibility, but the universi- 
ty press editor(s) must be equally accountable for the 
deficiencies of organization and presentation. The 
book is plagued by inexcusable errors, including, for 
example, misspellings: Mitchell Pass as Mitchel (p. 
10); Grattan Massacre as Gratten (p. 39 and Plate 18); 
and Fort Caspar as Casper (pp. 12 and 39). There is 
zonfusion among place names: the emigrant grave 
'Plate 23) should be identified as the Unthank grave 
lear Glenrock, Wyoming, in Converse County — 
[here is no Douglas County. The maps present incor- 
rect or faulty labeling: Omaha is shown on the same 
side of the Missouri River as Council Bluffs (p. 10) 
and the town of Jackson is depicted as being situated 
Dn the Snake River (p. 39). There is no Mitchell, 
Wyoming (Plate 17). Identifying a grove of aspens as 
the Fort Bridger parade grounds is not correct (Plate 
37). There are no maps for the Idaho and Utah seg- 
ments of the trail. The map on page 152 does not 
reflect the complexity of the trail's California portion. 

This photo essay demonstrates what happened to 
a major transportation system once its original use- 
fulness played out. Unfortunately, fundamental 
structural flaws weaken its value. The author seem- 
ingly takes the reader westward along the trail, but 
Plate 1 presents a trail billboard (no relation to the 
text) in Kearney County, Nebraska. Plate 2 illustrates 
Independence Landing near Kansas City. Plate 5 
(showing trail enthusiasts near Rock Springs, 
Wyoming) intrudes amidst suburban Kansas City. 
Plate 10 (Pottawatomie County, Kansas) has been 
inserted between two Nebraska scenes. Often the 
weakly written and organized narrative has little to 
do with a photograph. The text opposite Plate 43 con- 
tains two unrelated topics jumbled into one para- 

Besides these technical deficiencies, the author 
implies that only minimal mapping information 
existed at the outset of the project. He cites assistance 
from Tom Hunt and Don Buck as well as contacts 
with Trails West and the Oregon-California Trails 

Association. Federal land management agencies such 
as the National Park Service (NPS), the Bureau of 
Land Management (BLM), and the US Forest Service 
(USFS) could have provided locational information. 
Yet, he states: "It took about a year to locate the orig- 
inal trail," and "A library search turned up nothing" 
(p. 3). Is the author referring to trail history or precise 
location? As for identifying the actual route, a trou- 
blesome inconsistency exists between MacGregor 
and historian Anderson who writes on p. ix: "Its 
exact location has been pretty well mapped out — the 
main routes, as well as various cutoffs and varia- 
tions." This confusion should have been resolved 
prior to publication. 

Several modest changes would have enhanced 
the book's contributions. Ongoing efforts to com- 
memorate the trail could have been discussed earlier 
than opposite Plate 42. A brief section describing 
recent trail interpretation and preservation work by 
federal, state, and private entities would be valuable 
to cultural resources management professionals. In 
1992 Congress designated the California National 
Historical Trail and the NPS is currently preparing a 
comprehensive management and use plan. A sum- 
mary of the plan would give symmetry to the book. 
Finally, a bibliography and index would facilitate its 
use as a viable trail reference. 

Despite the book's factual and structural flaws, 
MacGregor has made a qualified contribution to the 
literature particularly on the portion of the route not 
shared by trails. The lay reader unfamiliar with 
specifics of the route will find the photos and accom- 
panying text compelling. Historians, trail experts and 
devotees will find that the work possesses limited 
value in presenting new information to enhance their 
knowledge about the California Trail. 

Reviewed by Ronald W. Johnson, National Park 
Service, Denver 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Wagon Wheels: A Contemporary Journey on 
the Oregon Trail 

by Candy Moulton and Ben Kern 

225 pages, illustrations, bibliography, index 
Glendo: High Plains Press, 1996 
Paper, $14.95 

In 1993, the Oregon Trail sesquicentennial year, 
the authors and others traveled in a replica "wagon 
train" from Missouri to Oregon. The largest portion 
of this book describes the personal experiences of 
those who participated in this unique and demand- 
ing experience. And the descriptions impressively 
carry all the flavor and substance one associates with 
"on-the-spot" reporting of such experiences by those 
who (fortunately for the reader) also possess a con- 
siderable capacity for recording incidents in a man- 
ner both accurate and interesting. By the end of the 
book the reader feels truly acquainted with the 
authors, particularly with Ben Kern, or at least has 
developed a decided opinion that they would be very 
interesting, informative, and friendly people with 
whom to be associated. 

For those who made the trek, both historic and 
contemporary, the weather was one of the principal 
difficulties confronting them. The daily tasks 
required of the participants were also markedly sim- 
ilar to those performed regularly perhaps 150 years 
ago; i.e., preparing food, taking care of the animals 
and wagons, etc. The presence of "support" vehicles 
and crew necessarily and understandably modified 
the difficulties and dangers encountered. Even so, as 
Moulton indicates, the use of a celluar phone by one 
of the participants during the latter part of the jour- 
ney was incongruous to say the least. 

The historical information presented as back- 
ground and context, however, more than occasional- 
ly presents problems: 

On page xvi the authors speculate about the num- 
ber of people who traveled the trail. Why did they 
not use Mattes' more recent figure of 500,000 trail 
travelers instead of the earlier 350,000? For that mat- 
ter, why was neither Mattes' Platte River Narratives 
nor John Unruh, Jr.'s The Plains Across included in the 

William Sublette is credited with the "re-discov- 
ery" of South Pass on page xxii. I believe that 

Jedediah Smith and Thomas Fitzpatrick, not William! 
Sublette, headed the party that "re-discovered" South 
Pass in 1824. On page 140, Fitzpatrick's presence was 
noted but not Smith's. 

"We just went by a place where the Oregon Trail 
crossed the Platte River from the south side to the 
north side, where the old original trail was," the 
authors say on page 49. But this statement is mis- 
leading. According to Mattes, only a minority of emi- 
grants crossed the Platte at or near Fort Kearny 
south-siders who crossed to escape cholera, and 
north-siders who wanted to use the fort's post office. 

With regard to the authors' uncertainty about the 
dimensions of Chimney Rock as described on page 
77, why did they not simply refer to Mattes' The Great 
Platte River Road? 

Did Fort John truly become known as Fort 
Laramie because of a clerk's addressing error as the 
authors state on page 80? I can find no verification of 
this either in Mattes or in Hafen and Young's Fort 
Laramie and the Pageant of the West. 

Were not the Crow and Shoshoni also in atten 
dance at the Fort Laramie Treaty Council in 1851? On 
page 86 seem to indicate they were not. Also, the 
prime negotiators at the council were D.D. Mitchell 
and Thomas Fitzpatrick, both civilians, not the "mili- 
tary officials" referred to in the description of the pro 

William Fetterman was a captain, not a lieuten- 
ant, (as stated on page 97) at the time of his demise, 
and he crossed the Lodge Trail, not the Lodge Pole 
Ridge. And, of course, Custer was a lieutenant 
colonel, not a lieutenant, at his death. 

But enough of these quibbles. For all those who 
want vicariously to share the experiences of a con- 
temporary wagon train trek, this book is a gold mine 
For accurate historical information, however, they 
should be advised to check the works of Mattes 
Unruh, Franzwa, or other accepted trail authorities. 

Reviewed by Robert L. Munkres, Muskingum College 

The Wyoming State Historical Society 

The Wyoming State Historical Society is a confederation of more than 20 local chapters located in every 
area of the state. Members enjoy the frequent gatherings of their local groups and participate in pro- 
grams and activities that preserve and interpret their communities' history. Several times each year, 
members from all across Wyoming come together for major events where they celebrate common histor- 
ical interests. 

Membership in the society is open to everyone. Member benefits include a subscription to Annals of 
Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal, a quarterly journal devoted to broader public understanding of 
all aspects of Wyoming history; and Wyoming History Nezvs, the society's newsletter, which is published 
ten times each year. Membership dues also provide support for a comprehensive awards program that 
recognizes people who are doing something to preserve and interpret local and state history; for 
Wyoming History Day, which allows thousands of Wyoming school children to participate in history 
projects and to compete at district, state and national history day events; for research grants that support 
the study and publication of Wyoming history; and for a variety of special projects which help preserve 
and interpret the state's rich history. 

If you are already a member of the Wyoming State Historical Society we solicit your continued interest, 
involvement and support. If you are not a member, or if you know of other non-members who share an 
interest in Wyoming history, we urge you (and them) to join. Contact a member of your local historical 
society, or write to the Wyoming State Historical Society at 1740H184 Dell Range Blvd, Cheyenne, WY 

Membership dues are: $20 (single), $30 (joint), $15 (student, under 21 years of age), $40 (institutions). For 
those who wish to support the society in a more substantial way, participation at one of the following 
levels is appreciated: contributing member ($100-$249), sustaining member ($250-$499), patron ($500- 
$999), donor ($1,000 and over). In addition to all benefits of regular membership, participants at these 
levels are recognized in Wyoming History News. 

Featured in this issue of 

Annals of Wyoming is a 

unique reminiscence tilled 

"Aunt Norn and Uncle 

Will" by Kim Nelson. It 

demonstrates how the 

values of early Wyoming 

residents affected the 

history of the state, and it 

illustrates how the 

Downey family — just 

like families all over 

Wyoming — transferred 

those values from 

generation to generation. 

In trus circa 1926 photo, 

Aunt Norn Downey is 

shown with nephews 

Stephen Downey Jr. 

(middle left) and Jack 

Downey (middle right), 

niece Barbara Nelson 

(front left), and the author, 

Kim Nelson. 

With the inclusion of this 

article, Annals of Wyoming 

emphasizes its 

commitment to the 

publication of first-person 

accounts and recollections 

that add to our 

understanding of events 

and broad themes in 

Wyoming history. 




About the Cover Art 
"Bridger's Era" 

The painting, done by Dave Paulley, is one of several commissioned by the Wyo- 
ming State Historical Society to commemorate the Wyoming Centennial of State- 
hood. The painting is held in the collections of the Wyoming State Museum, Divi- 
sion of Cultural Resources, State Department of Commerce, Cheyenne. 

The editor of Annals of Wyoming welcomes manuscripts and photographs on every aspect of the history of Wyoming and the West. 
Appropriate for submission are unpublished, research-based articles which provide new information or which offer new interpreta- 
tions of historical events. First-person accounts based on personal experience or recollections of events will be considered for use in 
the "Wyoming Memories" section. Articles are reviewed and refereed by members of the journal's Editorial Advisory Board and 
others. Decisions regarding publication are made by the editor. Manuscripts (along with suggestions for illustrations or photographs) 
should be submitted on computer diskettes in a format created by one of the widely-used word processing programs along with two 
printed copies. Submissions and queries should be addressed to Editor, Annals of Wyoming, P. O. Box 4256, University Station, 
Laramie WY 82071. 


Pkil Roterts 

Book Review Editor 

Carl Hallterg 

Editorial Advisory Board 

Barbara Bogart, Evanston 
Mate! Brown, Newcastle 
Michael J. Devine, Laramie 
James B. Griffith, Jr., Cheyenne 
Don Hodgson, Torrington 
Loren Jost, Riverton 
David Kathka, Rock Springs 
T. A. Larson, Laramie 
John D. McDermott, Sheridan 
William H. Moore, Laramie 
Karyl Rokb, Cheyenne 
Sherry L. Smith, Moose 
Thomas F. Strooch, Casper 
Lawrence M. Woods, Worland 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Publications Committee 

Rich Ewig, Laramie 

David Kathha, Roch Springs 

Sherry L. Smith, Moose 

Amy Lawrence, Laramie 

Nancy Curtis, Glendo 

Patty Myers, Wheatland (ex-officio) 

Loren Jost, Riverton (ex-officio) 

Phil Roberts, Laramie (ex-officio) 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Executive Committee 

Patty Myers, President, Wheatland 
Glen Morris, Kemmerer 
Mikejording, Newcastle 
Linda Fabian, Cheyenne 
Marna Grubb, Green River 
Barbara Bogart, Evanston 
Rick Ewig, Laramie 
Amy Lawrence, Laramie 
Dick Wilder, Cody 

Governor of Wyoming 

Jim Geringer 

Wyoming Dept. of Commerce 

Gene Bryan, Director 

Karyl Robb, Administrator, Div. or Cultural 


Wyoming Parks & Cultural Resources 


William Dubois, Cheyenne 
Michael J. Devine, Laramie 
Laurie Latta, Pinedale 
Rosie Berger, Sheridan 
David Peck, Lovell 
Herb French, Newcastle 
Jere Bogrett, Riverton 
Hale Kreycik, Douglas 
Jeanne Hickey, Cheyenne 

University of Wyoming 

Philip Dubois, President 
Michael J. Devine, Director, 

American Heritage Center 
Oliver Walter, Dean, 

College or Arts and Sciences 
William H. Moore, Chair, Dept. of History 


MAR 9 1998 

The Wyoming History Journal 

Spring 1997 Vol. 69, No. 2 

Mormon Cricket Infestation in Crook County 

By Ellen Crago Mueller. 2 

Staking a Claim to Heaven: 
A Jackson Hole Memoir 

By William Gardner Bell. 

The State of Wyoming's Participation 
in the Colorado River Compact 

By Jennifer King 

Fencing Out the Foreigner: 
Influences on the 18th Wyoming Legislature 
ana Its Exclusion of Foreign Physicians 

By Susan Macki and Eric D. Kohler. 



The Fight to Save a Memory: 
Creation of the Pryor Mountain Wild. Horse Range 

By Patricia Mabee Fazio 28 

Recent Acquisitions in the Hehard Collection, UW Libraries 

Compiled by Tamsen L. Hert 48 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal is published quarterly by the Wyoming 
State Historical Society in association with the Wyoming Department of Commerce, the 
American Heritage Center, and the Department of History, University of Wyoming. The 
journal was previously published as the Quarterly Bulletin (1923-1925), Annals of Wyoming 
(1925-1993), Wyoming Annals (1993-1995) and Wyoming History Journal (1995-1996). The 
Annals has been the official publication of the Wyoming State Historical Society since 1953 
and is distributed as a benefit of membership to all society members. Articles in Annals of 
Wyoming are abstracted in Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life. 

Editorial correspondence and inquiries about reprints and back issues should be addressed to 
the editorial office of Annals of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, P. 0. Box 4256, Uni- 
versity Station, Laramie WY 82071. Inquiries about membership and distribution should be 
addressed to Judy West, Coordinator, Wyoming State Historical Society, 1740H184 Dell 
Range Blvd., Cheyenne WY 82009. 

Copyright 1997, Wyoming State Historical Society 

ISSN: 1086-7368 

vvy oming jYLemories 

Facts about the 
Mormon Cricket 

The Mormon cricket {Anabrus Simplex Haldeman, 
Order Orthoptera, Family Tettigoniidae) is actually 
a shield-based grasshopper, related to the katydid and 
long-horned grasshopper with habits of the field 
cricket. For more than a century the Mormon crick- 
ets have overwhelmed the settlers and homesteaders 
in the Rocky Mountain area. 

They migrate from their native breeding grounds 
in the high rugged hills into arable land in the val- 
leys, devouring everything edible in their path. The 
serious outbreak in the Great Salt Basin, Utah, in 
1 848 was terminated by the arrival of great flocks of 
gulls. The settlers in the Basin erected a monument 
to the gulls in gratitude. 

The cricket passes the winter in the egg stage bur- 
ied in 1/4 to 1 inch deep soil in barren sandy soil in a 
sunny location. The female lays an average of 150 
eggs over a period of a week or more, then continues 
to lay eggs all summer. The embryos become well 
developed before winter but do not hatch until the 
following spring. The eggs hatch during the first 
warm days of spring a full month ahead of the grass- 
hoppers. The crickets pass through seven nymphal 
stages in about 75 to 100 days, and become adults 
from early June to mid- July. 

The adult is about one inch long, heavy bodied 
and clumsy. Its wings are very small and useless, 
except the male uses them to produce his mating 
chirp. He has an antennae as long as his body. The 
female has a sword-shaped ovipositor also as long as 
her body. They are particularly active during the 
warm sunny part of the day. 

When the crickets are about half-grown they be- 
gin to migrate from the breeding grounds and cover 
1/8 to one mile a day in a straight line in no predict- 
able direction. The crickets migrate over all kinds of 
obstacles and eat everything in their path. They climb 
up one side of a building, over the roof and down the 
other side consuming the paint and any loose sliver 
of wood. They especially like the garden vegetables 
and eat even onion roots. The crickets are often in 
bands covering a square mile with as many as 100 to 
500 individuals per square foot. The migration oc- 
curs at air temperatures of 65 to 95 degrees F and 
when the wind velocity is under 25 miles per hour. 

Mormon Cricket 
Infestation in 
Crook County 

By Ellen Crago Mueller 

In 1934 and 1935 the weather was extremely dry in Crook 
County, Wyoming. There were a few small areas where 
crickets hatched but there was not enough vegetation to 
support the grasshoppers and the crickets. In 1934 the 
Drought Relief Program (DRP) was organized. County ag- 
ricultural agents were put in charge of the program. The 
government purchased livestock because of the lack of for- 
age and water. In June, 1935, grasshoppers became a prob- 
lem. The DRP began a grasshopper poisoning program. The 
Sundance Times announced the establishment of the poi- 
son mixing stations throughout Crook County. 

The year 1936 was the driest year on record in Crook 
County. That year the grasshopper poisoning program was 
successful, probably because there was nothing else but bait 
to eat or they starved to death. There was poison left over. 

Blister Beetles were also a troublesome insect that year. 
I don't remember all the damage or what they ate, but we 
had our share of them on our irrigated land near Beulah. As 
we picked our garden produce or worked in the hay fields, 
we became covered with beetles. They nipped us so we 
smashed them on our skin. That area developed a large blis- 
ter. The blistered area began to itch. Naturally the blister 
was broken. Most of the time the area became infected and 
the only way to cure the infection seemed to be Denver 
Mud. This was a thick salve applied to the sore and one 
became very uncomfortable from the poultice action. You 
didn't just sit~you moved around to forget the uncomfort- 
able feeling. This was the remedy prior to antibiotics. 

The 1937 the moisture was above normal. The grass came 
back and the meadows became green. Grain fields gave a 
promise of bountiful crops. The Sundance Times mentioned 
hail storms in various areas of the county, but there was 
still feed for the livestock that had survived the dry years. 

The crickets hatched out by the millions. The damp cold 

Spring 1997 

weather did not seem to bother them at all. One band started 
to migrate from the southwest to northeast with Sundance 
in their path. A daily bulletin announced their location as 
they approached the town. The Sundance residents became 
alarmed. Several residents erected a fence to keep the in- 
sects out to guard their houses and protect the first gardens 
they had raised in several years. 

US Highway 14 was overrun with the moving crickets. 
The road became slick as black ice from the dead insects. 
The drivers lost control of their vehicles and many ended 
up in the gutter. The odor there and wherever the insects 
were thick, became a horrible stench. When they found food 
to devour, the noise as they ate the food was quite loud. 

The Sundance Town Council decided to protect the wa- 
ter supply and to build a fence on the southwest part of 
town to try to halt the crickets in their march toward town. 

The Sundance Times told the Mormon cricket story: 

"The year is 1937 and the time is July. The occasion is 
the great invasion of the Mormon crickets when Sundance 
and parts of the Crook county were literally flooded by the 
giant insects. 

"Pictures here show the cricket invasion in Sundance and 
were furnished by Frank Toth of Upton, who was in 
Sundance during the invasion." [Ed. note: Scenes were simi- 
lar to those shown in this article]. 

Let a story from the July 8, 1937, issue of the Sundance 
Times tell you how it was: 

The big invasion is on. Coming from the east, west and 
north Mormon crickets by the millions have been moving in 
on Sundance since the latter part of the week, and since the 
vanguard of the army of invading crickets arrived, residents 
in several parts of the town have had to contend with one of 
the worst pests to be imagined. 

So the people that live in town are getting a sample of 
what ranchers in many parts of the county have had to con- 
tend with far from pleasant. 

The biggest band of crickets came from the southwest, 
moving in past the refinery; another came from the Bear 
Lodge, down the canyon back of Hooper s place, and the 
third band came in from the east near the ranger station. 

Homes in town were literally covered with the insects and 
while a number of means were tried to get rid of the pests 
nothing seemed to help the situation to any extent. 

The paved streets and highways where the crickets were 
killed by the thousands by passing cars, were a mess and the 
stench was something terrible in places. 

At this time the crickets are gradually spreading out and 
probably cover the entire town before the end of the week. 

Tin fences have proved very successful. Here in Sundance, 
a mile of fence was constructed along the north and west 
side of town and at present is holding the crickets coming 
out of the Bear Lodge. 

The fence, 8 inches high with a strip of tin along the top, 
sure does the business. Traps full of oil are placed at points 
along the fence and thousands and thousands of the insects 
have been destroyed. 

The campaign ended the last week of August and cost the 
county $65,000.00. Over 300,000 acres were infected. 

Otto Habeck rode a horse from Aladdin, Wyoming, in a 
southeast direction to report the infected area. During his 
travel, he noted other areas infested heavily with crickets. 
He said the ground seemed to move, they were so thick. A 
rancher from Colony, Wyoming, reported he passed sev- 
eral bands of crickets while he was enroute to Sundance. 

Governor Leslie Miller dipped into his contingency fund 
for a fencing project around the grain fields in Crook County 
and to assist the City of Sundance with their fence. More 
than five miles offence was constructed around grain fields 

Eventually the fence nearly circled Sundance. A furrow 
was plowed on the outside of the fence and then every few 
feet a hole was dug and filled with oil. As the cricket ar- 
rived at the fence he was detoured to the oiled hole. The 
crickets were removed from the hole several times each 
day to the edge of town and burned. 

The county commissioners from Butte and Lawrence 
Counties of South Dakota met with the authorities in 
Sundance. They returned home to build a fence along the 
South Dakota side of the Wyoming-South Dakota state line 
from north of Hay Creek in Butte County continuing south 
into Lawrence County to Highway 14. I could establish 
just exactly how long this fence was, but Mrs. Enid Giltner, 
who had the ranch immediately south of Highway 14, could 
not recall that the fence was built along her place. 

One story I could not verify after nearly 60 years con- 

Pile of crickets being burned near the edge of Sundance, 
1937. Tom and Honey Hooper collection. 

Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

cerned a farmer who had a wonderful field of wheat along 
the east side of the Wyoming-South Dakota line. He would 
not give an easement for the fence to be constructed through 
his grain field. The fence had to be constructed east one- 
half mile, north one mile, and west again one-half mile. 

The insects arrived near the area in droves. The farmer 
begged the committee to build the fence across his land. 
Needless to say, he lost every spear of wheat and weeds! 

News reels at the movies, the Associated Press and the 
radios gave full coverage to the infestation. Bus loads of 
tourists came from all over the country to view the crick- 
ets. The publicity was so great it stole the show from Mount 
Rushmore that was in the construction stage. 

The grasshopper bait did not even give the crickets indi- 
gestion. A powder form of poison was secured, power spray- 
ers were obtained and the powder was mixed with bento- 
nite. However, bentonite holds several times it's weight of 
moisture and that was a wet year. A carload of white sand 
was ordered from Washington State. That caused outrage 
on the part of the bentonite claims. Crook County has many 
bentonite claims. 

The men with the power sprayers walked arm to arm 
ahead of the crickets. The success of the spraying was 
achieved but at the cost to the men spraying. Several be- 
came poisoned by the dust and developed lung trouble, suf- 
fering for the rest of their lives. 

There was not a large hatching of crickets in 1938. Only 
a few colonies hatched out in 1939 and were easily con- 
trolled. Each year a few colonies hatch, but with careful 
surveillance the cricket has not made a repeat of 1937. The 

fear of an invasion has stayed with folks that remember — 
the gulls did not come to Wyoming! 

In 1995 I visited with a lady from central South Dakota. 
She said that in 1938 they had a small infestation in her 
area and for a few years after a few crickets were noticed. I 
wonder how they migrated that far? 

Sheridan County had an infestation also. Rumor reached 
Sundance that the Sheridan ranchers were crossing the 
cricket with the honey bee to rid the area of the odor. The 
new insect was called "beekets" and "smelled as sweet as 
the new mown hay." Governor Miller traveled to Sheridan 
and, possibly, shared his contingency money with them also. 

The odor of the dead crickets, the insects on the light 
wires, telephone wires and clinging to the houses discour- 
aged the tourists. They viewed the scenes and left town for 
their meals and motels. The tourist trade suffered. 

Businesses from all over the country contacted the cham- 
ber of commerce to find out if a use could be made of the 
crickets. One company in California requested five dozen 
crickets sent COD to be used as an experiment to feed trout. 
A Canadian company heard that crickets would stop a grass- 
hopper invasion. Crook County didn't send them any crick- 
ets as the insect had not stopped or even slowed up the 
grasshoppers in Wyoming. 

Ellen Crago Mueller lived in Crook County from 1928- 
1939. She has been active in the WSHSfor many years, 
serving as Society President in 1986-87. She also served 
for many years as Secretary-Treasurer. She and her 
husband Fred have lived in Cheyenne since 1.939. 

(Left) Sundance City Hall, 1937. Washing the crickets into the street where they were gathered up and removed. 
(Right) Crickets nearly cover the side of the Sundance building. Tom & Honey Hooper Collection. 

y ommg j *±e movies 


A Jackson Hole Memoir 

by William Gardner Bell 

Wyoming's Jackson Hole has been variously described as "a 
region of grandeur and contrast" ... "a supreme expression 
of beauty and majesty and truth" . . . "one of nature's noblest works." 
One who succumbed to its spell in boyhood reminds us that the 
valley's history has not been lost in tributes to its natural splendor. 

When President Clinton and the First Family vacationed in Jack- 
son Hole in the summer of 1995 there was lots of hubbub over the 
"Aspenization" of Wyoming's enchanting valley. The presidential 
party put up at West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller's 8000 square- 
foot retreat, Valley House. Spread across the countryside around 
them were the diggings of World Bank president James Wolfenson, 
former Defense secretary Dick Cheney, financier Robert Altman, 
newsman David Brinkley, lawyer Gerry Spence, actor Harrison Ford, 
singer Robert Goulet, former State secretary James Baker, Chrysler 
president Robert Lutz, and many more glitzy millionaires. 

The upper crust influx into Jackson Hole was hardly new. Sixty 
years ago the Union Pacific Railroad took a hard look at the Hole 
before settling upon Sun Valley across the mountains in Idaho for a 
major winter sports resort. And it wasn't until the late Thirties that 
Aspen, Colorado, embarked upon its transformation from a dead sil- 
ver-mining town into a live recreation and cultural mecca. Thus, it 
would not be wide of the mark to say that "Jacksonization" preceded 
"Aspenization" as an apt term to describe what fame and fortune can 
do to an otherwise innocent locality. Indeed, what is happening in 
Jackson Hole today is simply a continuation of what was occurring 
there six and more decades ago when I was privileged to be a minus- 
cule part of it all. 

I staked my claim to Jackson Hole in 1928 — 68 years ago if my 
reckoning is correct — when I topped Teton Pass on my way to a 
summer vacation in the valley. My boyhood friend, Sherman Gray, 
and his remarkable parents, Prentiss and Laura Gray, invited several 
of his and his sister Barbara's friends to join them on their western 

The author, born in New York in 1914, retired in 1962 after a 21- 
year career in the U. S. Army. An editor, author and historian, he 
has written frequently on the American West and military sub- 
jects. He now lives in Arlington, Virginia. 

From an apprenticeship on the 
River Ranch and the D Triangle, 
the author advanced to the White 
Grass Ranch and to the estimable 
calling of dude wrangler. Photo 
from author 's collection. 

Annals of Wyoming :The Wyoming History Journal 

Westerner Harold Hammond and Easterner Tucker Bispham established a boys ' ranch in Jackson Hole in 1913, 
then transformed it into the White Grass dude ranch in 1920. By the mid- 1 930 's it had become one of the leading 
guest ranches in the West. Above, Harold is feeding some of the tame antelope that regularly visited the main cabin. 

The Grays had summered in 1927 at Ernest Miller's 
Elkhorn Ranch in Montana. On the way home they visited 
Jackson Hole, a region they had only sampled in a 1925 
hunt along its eastern reaches. ' The opportunity to traverse 
its heart at a leisurely pace and observe its wonders closeup 
had such a powerful effect that Prent Gray purchased the 
Lincolnfelter family property on the east bank of the Snake 
River just downstream from Moose and Menor's Ferry as a 
family vacation retreat. 

The ranch wasn't quite ready to receive the Gray party in 
June of '28, and we spent a pleasant interlude at Harry and 
Ethel Harrisons' Circle H Ranch on the first bench across 
the river. The Harrisons broke us to the saddle with their 
string of horses, not a simple task, for our group included 
not only Sherm and Barbara Gray but Bill and Kitty Bell, 
Johnny McLain, and Joe Quattrone. We soon learned that 
horses are most reluctant to leave the stable, but electrified 
when you turn for home, and you'd better hold them in if 
you don't want to lose your head on the barn entrance. 
Fortunately, we came away unscathed. 

If Harry Harrison, an authentic old-timer in high-topped 
boots and peaked sombrero, didn't modify our western 
movie misunderstandings, Sheriff Jim Francis did when he 
rode in one morning. He was packing a six-gun at hip, 
sporting a rifle in the saddle boot, and trailing a pack horse 
behind — returning from an early summer inspection of the 
Death Canyon trail through the Tetons. Jim and Harry more 
than widened eyes and opened mouths around that green- 
horn circle, and left a memory to cherish to this day. 

The Grays used their Montana connections to put their 
ranch into operation. Dick and Ira Verwolf and Art Farmer 
trailed in with a string of horses from the Livingston area. 

Locally, Mrs. Walt Callahan established the kitchen with 
her son Walt's wife Twila to help. Swiss-born Elsy Inder- 
muhle, companion to Sherm and Barbara Gray, kept them 
exercised in French; she would later marry Larry Redmond 
of Red Rock Ranch. 

When the third summer rolled around, the Montana crew 
returned home, and a great westerner, Bill Wells, took over 
ranch operations. The original Lincolnfelter house was more 
than doubled in size when Prent Gray, director of the J. 
Henry Schroder Bank in Wall Street, a big-game hunter 
and naturalist of some renown, and a substantive contribu- 
tor to exhibit presentations at Philadelphia's Academy of 
Science, added a huge log living room with picture win- 
dows on north and west sides to fix the view of the Tetons 
and dramatize an interior lined with trophy heads from sev- 
eral continents. 

In 1928, Highway 187 from Jackson to Moose and on 
north to Yellowstone Park was still dirt-surfaced and be- 
came a strip of gumbo when it rained. The only stop along 
the road to Moose was a little roadside cabin on the bench 
above the Gray ranch, where a strange couple named Stubbs 
and McCabe— man and woman — dispensed cokes and 
candy to those tempted to stop. Menor's Ferry at the Moose 
crossing was still transporting travelers across the Snake, 
Grand Teton National Park was yet a year away from for- 
mal establishment, and the Jackson Hole National Monu- 
ment was still fifteen years short of Presidential proclama- 
tion. Yet '28 in Jackson Hole was not devoid of milestones. 

1 Prentiss N. Gray (1884-1935). Prentiss Gray's journals, in- 
cluding details about this hunt, were published recently. Sherman 
Gray, ed., From the Peace to the Fraser, (Missoula: The Boone 
& Crockett Club, 1994). 

Spring 199? 

I had just turned from my twelfth into my thirteenth year, 
and had my first shot at driving a car. I took the wheel of a 
Model-T Ford, lost coordination between accelerator, clutch, 
brake, arid shift, and left the road on a wild side-trip across 
the sagebrush flat that ended in a lurching stall against a 
sturdy buck fence. 

As we've seen above and will see below, it is virtually 
impossible to write about Jackson Hole without spreading 
names across the landscape. It seems that almost everyone 
connected with Jackson Hole has a name to be bandied about 
in one connection or another. Indeed, it is an exercise in 
futility to deal with the region's inhabitants, native or out- 
sider, without seeming to indulge in vainglory. 

Name and fame got an early start in Jackson Hole. John 
Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who 
left that historic band in 1 807 to become the first white to 
see the valley and its majestic range, magnificent river, and 
picturesque lakes, unquestionably launched the Hole's 
Who 's Who. Some two decades later came David Jackson 
of the fur-trading triumvirate of Smith, Jackson and Sublette. 
David would gain immortality when the valley, the town, 
and the largest of the regional lakes were named after him 
(and not, as some mistakenly assume, pioneer photogra- 
pher William Henry Jackson or peripatetic stock rustler 
Teton Jackson). 2 

The 1920s, 1930s and 1940s were delightful years in Jack- 
son Hole. The guest ranch business was in full flower, aug- 
mented by a passel of private spreads owned by easterners 
and far westerners. The result was a congenial mix of dudes 
and natives to lend spice to valley life. Struthers Burt set 

some of the scene in his classic 1 924 book, The Diary of a 
Dude Wrangler, a story based in his co-launching with Dr. 
Horace Carncross of the popular Bar BC ranch on the Snake 
just north of Moose. 3 

The west side of the Hole was lined with notable ranches 
owned by prominent citizens. Up by Jenny Lake, Elena 
Barron Hunt operated the Elbo ranch and store and raised 
thoroughbred horses. Closer in, Pete Kaarpi ran a boys ranch 
on the Snake, while south of Moose and the rustic Chapel 
of the Transfiguration, Buster and Frances Estes presided 
over their STS guest ranch — not far from the Harrisons' 
Circle H. Against the Tetons west of Moose, the White 
Grass Ranch, established in 1913 by westerner Harold 
Hammond and easterner Tucker Bispham and recognized 
as the earliest dude ranch in the valley, hosted a clientele 
weighted with prominent guests from New Jersey and Penn- 
sylvania — families like the Laidlaws, Lippincotts, Cloth- 
iers, Galeys. 4 Marian Galey — the Duchess as she was fondly 
if unwarrantedly called by her retinue — married Harold 
Hammond when both lost their spouses, and carried on when 
Harold, who gave me my first dude-wrangling job, passed 
on in 1939. Son Frank Galey rodded the spread until 1985 

* David E. Jackson ( 1 788- 1 837). For a recent biography of Jack- 
son, see Vivian Linford Talbot. David E. Jackson, Field Captain 
of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade, (Jackson: Jackson Hole His- 
torical Society and Museum, 1996). 

3 Struthers Burt (1882-1954). The Diary of a Dude Wrangler, 
(New York: Charles Scribner Sons, 1924). 

4 Harold Hammond (c. 1878- 1939) 

The author feeds Cricket 
a handful of oats at the 
Gray family River Ranch 
in 1928 as wrangler Art 
Chapman hams it up 
from a bareback perch. 
The Blucher boots, Levi 
jeans and Stetson hat 
represented the trap- 
pings that started many 
an Eastern lad on the 
cowboy trail with the 
hope of transforming a 
dream into reality. Photo 
by Sherman Gray. 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

when he, too, left this mortal coil and the ranch followed 
Steve Connover's Trail Ranch into absorption into Teton 
National Park. 5 

Below the White Grass was the JY, a former dude ranch 
that became a private property of the Rockefeller family 
after the land distribution that involved the formation of 
the Jackson Hole Monument and Teton Park. Adjoining 
the JY on the south was the Bearpaw Ranch of Coulter 
Huyler, whose name carried the banner for the noted candy 
store chain in the East. 

In 1931, Laura Sherman Gray, a niece of General Will- 
iam Tecumseh Sherman and Senator John Sherman of Ohio, 
purchased the 728-acre D Triangle Ranch just south of the 
Bearpaw. 6 Previously owned by Lew Fleming and Marian 
Danforth, it was — is — a picturesque spread lying against 
the Tetons about halfway between Moose and Wilson. Newt 
Wheeler worked the ranch and Mrs. Wheeler cooked, while 
Art Chapman ran the stable. 

Dean Albert Bailey of Windsor Castle and internation- 
ally famous race car drive Chris Smith were among Gray 
family guests at the D Triangle, as were frequent visitors 
Paul Petzoldt and Glenn Exum, premier mountain climbers 
of the day. Sherm Gray and I stayed in until Christmas in 
1931 and Mrs. Kaarpi tutored us in anticipation of our re- 
sumption of studies at midyear back East. But schoolwork 
took a back seat to our preference to roam the fields and 
woodlands around the ranch, toting an 8mm Manlicher car- 
bine as protection against prowling moose that preferred 
the hayfield grazing to the leaner pickings up on the 

South of the D Triangle on this back country road that 
might well have been tagged Park Avenue West lay the 
ranch of Stanley Resor, head of the J. Walter Thompson 
Advertising Agency of New York. 7 In one of those quirks 
of life, son Stanley Resor would later become Secretary of 
the Army in the Johnson and Nixon administrations, and 
this writer, as a historian in the U.S. Army Center of Mili- 
tary History, would draft the Annual Report of the Secre- 
tary of the Army while exercising great care to remain 
anonymous — to the Secretary as well as the general public. 
Secretary Resor' s sons, it may be noted, became perma- 
nent residents of Jackson Hole and are among its leading 
citizens today. 

The east side of the Hole had its share of outfits, guest 
and private, to carry the region's history through the '20s, 
'30s and '40s. In a shift of location, Struthers Burt and his 
wife, author Katherine Newlin Burt, pursued their literary 
careers on their Three Rivers Ranch in the Pacific Creek 
area. South of Moran and the Togwotee Pass Road the 
Turner family's Triangle X Ranch flourished — and still does 
today. John Turner took time out from local affairs to head 
the Fish and Wildlife Service agency in the Interior De- 
partment during the Bush Administration. 

Up the Gros Ventre River the Redmond family operated 
their Red Rock Ranch in the Sheep Mountain and dramatic 
"slide" area of Jackson Hole, where a huge chunk of hill- 

side broke loose in 1 926 to dam the river's flow. The earthen 
obstacle gave way in 1927, and Slide Lake's contents swept 
away the town of Kelly and the highway bridge on their 
roaring way to the Snake River Canyon, the Columbia River, 
and the Pacific Ocean. 

Around the shoulder of the eastern hills, Mrs. Charles 
DeRham raised prize Herefords on her ranch adjacent to 
the Elk Refuge, and Dave Abercrombie of the noted 
Abercrombie and Fitch firm in New York operated his pri- 
vate ranch nearby. 

Among the recreational highlights of the pre-war sum- 
mers in Jackson Hole — for visitor and resident alike — were 
the annual rodeos: one at Jackson, one at Wilson, and one 
at the Elbo Ranch on the sagebrush flat opposite Jenny Lake. 
Top riders from around the West put Jackson Hole on their 
schedules and came in to compete against a local contin- 
gent of top hands who were not about to let outsiders run 
away with all the purses. Bob Crisp, Larry Redmond, Walt 
Feuz, Bill Tanner, Fernie Hubbard, Howard Henry and oth- 
ers came out of the chutes to scratch their way to respecta- 
bility and prize money against the likes of national profes- 
sionals Turk Greenough, Howard Tegland, and Floyd 
Stillings. In the course of covering rodeos in the West and 
the East for Hoofs & Horns magazine, which represented 
the Rodeo Association of America, I had an opportunity to 
watch Bob Crisp compete in the saddle bronc riding, not 
only in Jackson, but in New York at the World Series Ro- 
deo in Madison Square Garden. He gave a good account of 
himself at both ends of the spectrum. 

While Jackson Hole rodeos offered eastern spectators 
front row seats at theatrical representations of range life, 
they did not exclude guests from the arena. All of the shows 
gave both residents and outsiders, professionals and ama- 
teurs, a shot at a piece of the action through such events as 
quarter- and half-mile flat races and a mile-and-a-half pony 
express race in which riders used three-horse strings in half- 
mile segments and two flying changes of mounts. Dudes 
from many of the guest ranches competed in these events, 
and the outfits responded to the challenge by screening their 
horse herds for speed and their guest lists for contestants. I 
still treasure and occasionally wear a silver-buckled, hand- 
tooled leather belt that I won as first prize in the pony ex- 
press race at the Jackson Fairgrounds in 1 940, riding White 
Grass mounts Buck, Chapeau, and Appy — the latter an Ap- 
paloosa that could run like a deer and made an almost un- 
beatable finishing mount. 

What a disappointment it was to check the 1992 Jackson 
Hole Summer Vacation Planner and find only two of the 
outfits I've mentioned — Triangle x and Red Rock — still 
operating under their historical designations. A third, the 
R Lazy S, is there, but it is located at Teton Village and 
apparently has no connection with the ranch of that brand 
that used to be located between the Circle H and the White 

5 Marian Galey (1886-1948); Frank Galey (1917-1985) 

6 Laura Sherman Gray (1880-1968) 

7 Stanley B. Resor (1879-1962) 

Spring 199? 

Grass, and boasted of being the place where Owen Wister 

And what a difference a half-century has wrought in the 
town of Jackson! In the Twenties and Thirties it had a 
small town, Old West charm, and most Jackson Holers of 
whatever background moved in familiar surroundings. The 
Crabtrees ran the hotel, the Simpsons and Van Fleets the 
hardware stores, the Mercills the grocery/clothing store, the 
Porters the drug store, Mrs. Moore the cafe, Ed Benson the 
waterworks, Harry Weston and Buck Buchenroth the bank, 
and Englishman Eric Hope — all six-feet-seven of him — 
the best curio shop in the country. 

Night life centered around Ben Goe's Cowboy Bar and 
Lew Gill's Log Cabin Club, where most dudes congregated, 
or the Frontier Saloon, where many of the local citizens 
gathered for refreshment and cards. When you bellied up 
to the bar you never knew who might be standing next to 
you. Donald Hough, a writer of some note and an eastern 
expatriate who settled in the town and wrote about it in 
Cocktail Hour in Jackson Hole — an author who occasion- 
ally fell upon the dry spells that afflict most writers — re- 
called in his later book, Snow Above Town, how he sold an 
article to the Saturday Evening Post, cashed his check, and 
stopped by the Cowboy Bar to pay his tab "with a flourish 
and a quick one on the house." 8 

Surprisingly, perhaps unknowingly except to the aficio- 
nado, Jackson had some outstanding musicians. Johnnie 
Walker fronted a five-piece combo at the Cowboy Bar that 
included a first-rate tenor sax man in Chuck Helm and a 
bass player named Plugie Powell who might well have 
slapped his great fiddle with any of the top bands of the 
day. Over at the Log Cabin, blind pianist-organist Jay Hill 
held court, alternating with vibraphonist George Ganz with 
his fine jazz trio. Not to be left out, the Frontier fielded a 
trio that included local merchant Karl Johnson on an out- 
standing rhythm guitar. As a jazz hound from New York, 
where I created, scripted, and announced a record show 
called "Once Over Lightly" on WNYC and the Municipal 
Broadcasting System, I gravitated to Jackson's night spots 
and was privileged to sit in on guitar at all three venues. 

Not all of the night life in the Hole centered upon Jack- 
son; there were occasional soirees at Moran and Kelly and 
regular Saturday night gatherings at the Jenny Lake Dance 
Hall, where revelers from surrounding ranches assembled 
to trip a not-so-light fantastic toe. 

My rite of passage into manhood suffered a serious re- 
verse at Jenny Lake when a local roughneck, bemused, I 
like to think, by a couple of pulls from a flask, by the ro- 
mantically subdued lighting inside the hall, and by the crush 
of indistinguishable dudes and dudenes in their common- 
denominator Levis and brightly-colored shirts, grabbed me 
by the arm and asked me to dance. Shocked, I stammered 
a few words attesting to my gender and waded into the crowd 
in a vain attempt to escape the indignity. 

If we stick around long enough, the law of averages may 
often be counted upon to bless us with a compensating oc- 
currence to even up the score of life. In 1940, while I was 

wrangling at the White Grass Ranch, I was caught up in a 
violent confrontation that had all the elements of the Wild 
West in action. 

The kitchen staff at the ranch consisted of the head chef, 
Domingo, and three Asiatic assistants. All worked in Den- 
ver hotels in the winter and at the White Grass in summer. 
The job was no sinecure; some ninety or so residents — 
proprietors, guests, crew — had to be fed three times a day 
with meals prepared on a huge wood-burning stove. I 
chopped and carried cord after cord of wood to feed its 
voracious appetite. 

The resident foreman at the ranch was the prototypical 
old-time westerner often encountered in a Zane Grey 
novel — serious, reserved, possessed of a rigid sense of val- 
ues where women were concerned plus an ill-concealed 
disdain for non-Caucasians. I had just come in from a pre- 
dawn wrangling sweep for sixty head of horses scattered 
around the Teton Park rangeland that bounded the ranch 
and had settled into a chair in the crew dining area adjacent 
to the kitchen when the foreman walked in. Without pre- 
liminaries, he entered the kitchen, pulled a gun from his 
waistband, and pistol-whipped one of the Filipino assis- 
tants named Joe. With a deep gash in his scalp, Joe reeled 
back, grabbed a meat cleaver, and advanced toward his at- 
tacker. Crew members at the table, including several girls, 
sat transfixed as the tableau unfolded. 

To this day I don't know what possessed me, but I jumped 
up from the table, ran into the kitchen, grabbed the foreman's 
gunhand and raised it skyward, then pulled the piece from 
his hand. Surprisingly, Joe obeyed my stern command to 
put down the cleaver. 

The foreman reported the incident to Mrs. Hammond, 
who instructed him to drive immediately to Jackson to re- 
port it to the Sheriff. Coincidentally, I drove Joe to Jack- 
son to have the doctor stitch up and dress his serious wound, 
then transported him over Teton Pass to Victor, Idaho, to 
put him on the train to Denver. 

The foreman's wife later thanked me profusely for inter- 
vening in an encounter that could have — probably would 
have — had far more serious consequences had it not been 
stopped in time. The precipitating cause appeared to have 
been an off-color remark Joe had made to a part-time wait- 
ress who was a close friend of the foreman's wife. 

The Teton Range with its incomparable beauty has long 
been the subject of lens and brush. William H. Jackson took 
the first photographs of the Tetons in 1872. In following 
years, as settlement stabilized, S. N. Leek and Harrison 
Crandall made their marks with precious Teton and valley 
views. Perhaps the outstanding photograph of the Tetons 
and their complementary feature, the Snake River, is a black 
and white composition by the noted lensman, Ansel Adams, 
who caught the magic scene from the Dead Man's Bar over- 

8 Donald Hough (1895-1 965). Hough's 1956 work was reprinted. 
Cocktail Hour in Jackson Hole, (Missoula: Mountain Press Pub- 
lishing Co., 1993); Snow Above Town, (New York: W.W. Norton 
& Co., 1943). 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

look that has attracted literally thousands of shutterbugs in 
modern times. 

Among the artists, Thomas Moran painted the Tetons as 
far back as 1879, but among the plethora of later artists, 
one who made the Tetons his very own stands out: Archie 
B. Teater, a native of the region who early in life moved 
his residence from the Idaho to the Wyoming side of the 
range, probably painted more Teton subjects from more 
angles than any other paletteer, and created a legend that 
will live on among the undeniable legacies of later artists 
like John Clymer and Conrad Schweiring, who brought 
imposing talents to their adopted Teton landscape. On the 
wildlife side, perhaps the premier delineator of Jackson Hole 
elk and moose in their native habitat was Paul Colbron, a 
Carolinian who purchased Ben Linn's ranch across Granite 
Creek from the D Triangle's north forty and devoted him- 
self to painting the valley's wildlife. 

World War II ruptured my sustained relationship with 
Jackson Hole. I was wrangling dudes at the White Grass in 
the summer of 1941 and had taken a restless teenage mem- 
ber of the Sunoco Oil Company family of Philadelphia on 
a ten-day pack trip. We headed north up Pacific Creek, 
and Sherm Gray, interested in renewing a long relation- 
ship with the back country, joined us at Bridger Lake. From 
there we rode into the Thorofare plateau, looked in on the 
resident ranger at the station of that name in southeastern 
Yellowstone Park (who was making a swan count at the 
time), moved over the Continental Divide via Two Ocean 
Pass onto the Yellowstone River, negotiated Woodward 
Canyon, ascended to Ferry Lake, then rode down the North 
Fork of the Buffalo River into Turpin Meadows and back 
to the ranch. The high point of the trip, apart from the 
dramatic scenery and three-way companionship, originated 
with my teenage charge. He had brought his trumpet along 
on the ride, and each night around the campfire he got it 
out and serenaded the coyotes in the surrounding hills with 
verbatim choruses from Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's re- 
cordings. The responses by the coyotes were somewhat 

Back at the White Grass I found my "Greetings" from 
the President of the United States awaiting me. Of course, 
it wasn't really Franklin D. Roosevelt who contacted me 
personally: Betty Benson of the local Draft Board sent me 
a postcard placing me in Category One, and Helen Gustafson 
of the county clerk's office directed me to report to Dr. 
Donald McLeod for my pre-induction physical. I followed 
instructions to the letter, for I had taken out my Wyoming 
residency the year before and had validated it by going fish- 
ing and hunting with resident licenses. 

Frank Galey, Marvin Bunch, Bud Dawson, Bob Yokel 
and I comprised the August 1941 contingent of draftees 
from Teton County, Wyoming. We were called up in the 
second increment to serve the year of training then pre- 
scribed for eligible draftees. We took the Rains "stage" from 
Jackson to Rock Springs and the train to Cheyenne, spent 
our last night as civilians at the historic Plains Hotel, and 
reported in at Fort Francis E. Warren the next morning. 

There we were not only sworn in, but, as military jargon 
has it, chewed out royally for not checking in the previous 

Only three months later the Japanese attacked Pearl Har- 
bor and we were locked in for the duration. Back in Jack- 
son, the Reverend Walter McNeil set up a storefront win- 
dow with photos of local servicemen, and kept up with many 
of us as we scattered around the world. I treasured the V- 
Mail letters I received from local friends, especially during 
the North Apennines and Po Valley campaigns in Italy. Sev- 
eral from Struthers Burt were so unique that I placed them 
in the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center 

The war was a major disruption for us, as, indeed, it was 
for most citizens. Frank Galey, Russ Robinson and I had 
done some serious planning and had spoken with Jim and 
Viola Budge, who ran the Post Office and store at Moose, 
about our hope to establish a small dude ranch operation at 
that potent location. The callup put us in suspense, Pearl 
Harbor dealt us a serious blow, and dispersion and changes 
in relationships and directions killed off our enterprise. 

One thing the war, the departure, the separation could 
not obliterate was the seduction, the addiction, the appeal 
of Jackson Hole, the Tetons, the Snake. I've been back 
countless times over the years, and my wife Valeria and 
daughter Laura have shared the soul-stirring experience with 
me. Despite occupational commitments in Washington, I 
found time to prepare a keepsake booklet on the "noble and 
various" Snake River in a series on Great Western Rivers 
produced by the Potomac Corral of The Westerners. 9 

Most human beings contemplating life and opportunity 
beyond home and hearth can point to someone whose 
kindnesses helped shape their lives. The Gray family — par- 
ents Prentiss and Laura, son Sherman and daughter Bar- 
bara — introduced me to the Great American West and to 
spectacular Jackson Hole, influences that permeated and 
enriched my life. Through them I entered valley society at 
a most impressionable age, met and moved on to enlarge 
upon a circle of friends and acquaintances across valley 
life, including permanent residents and regular visitors — 
many but by no means all mentioned in this brief memoir. 

Over the years I've heard all kinds of people speak pos- 
sessively about their Jackson Hole. Obviously, every 
individual's claim to a favored location and environment 
must be private and personal, and not infringe in any way 
upon another's privilege, prerogative, right to claim a share 
of heaven. As far as I'm concerned, Jackson Hole is a para- 
dise, made so by God, Nature, and a host of people, experi- 
ences, events that enter the mix we call life. I would only 
hope that there is agreement that Jackson Hole belongs to 
everyone. Certainly it ranks as the next best thing to heaven. 

9 William Gardner Bell, The Snake: A Noble and Various River, 
(Washington: Potomac Corral The Westerners, 1969). 

The State of Wyoming's 
Participation in the Colorado 
River Compact 

By Jennifer King 






Of (OMt COUNTItl MAY hiccivc watch. 

Map from Norris Hundley, Jr., Water and the West (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975). 

The Colorado River Compact represents the first time more than two states 
negotiated a treaty to apportion the water of an interstate stream for consump- 
tive use. 1 All of the Western states knew the importance of water for their eco- 
nomic vitality, and therefore, accepted the need to develop the Colorado River. 
The history of the compact warrants attention because of the continued impor- 
tance of water to the American West. 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

This article provides a brief account of the formation of 
the Colorado River Compact Commission, and the com- 
pact negotiations and conclusions in order to set the scene 
and then explores more fully Wyoming's participation in 
the negotiations, including the official Wyoming position 
and those expressed by Wyoming citizens both solicited 
and voluntary. Two equally impassioned men presented the 
opposing sides in the debate for compact acceptance in 
Wyoming. Nellis E. Corthell, a legal expert on water law, 
articulated the position advocating caution. He expressed 
his opinion officially at the Colorado River Compact Com- 
mission hearing in Cheyenne and unofficially in speeches 
and newspaper articles. Frank Emerson, the State Engineer 
and Wyoming's Colorado River Compact Commissioner, 
supported the compact and related the benefits provided by 
a multistate agreement. The positions of both insider and 
outsider are equally cogent arguments and provide an in- 
teresting perspective made complete by the opinions of 
Wyoming citizens and all together reveal the story of one 
state's involvement with the compact during both the ne- 
gotiating and ratification stages. The discussion concern- 
ing Wyoming's activities provides a more intimate view of 
this impressive event. 

American Heritage Center 

Frank Emerson, Wyoming state engineer, repre- 
sented Wyoming in the Compact deliberations. 

A short discussion about the developments of water law 
systems in the Western United States must necessarily pre- 
cede the exploration of the compact. Background informa- 
tion provides the context in which to place this story. There- 
fore, before discussing the compact, this paper will detail 
the most essential components of the competing water law 
systems in the American West and then present two ex- 
tremely significant legal cases, both of which influenced 
water law in general and the compact negotiations specifi- 

The United States uses two different water law systems, 
riparian and prior appropriation. 2 Farmers who settled in 
the West attempted to use the riparian system because of 
previous success, but the aridity of the West forced them to 
modify the water system. These farmers soon realized that 
in an arid region only allowing use riparian to a stream 
necessitated divisions of land too minute for effective farm- 
ing in the dry climate. The adoption of a water system not 
reliant upon land adjoining a stream resulted in the doc- 
trine of prior appropriation. 3 Westerners recognized that 
prior appropriation offered them more security by guaran- 
teeing a defined quantity of water during any specific flow, 
a feature essential to farmers who could not rely on rain- 
fall. 4 Within the West people chose to adhere to one sys- 
tem or the other, and this dichotomy produced conflict and 
challenges often resulting in state and federal court cases. 5 
Two divergent doctrines resulted from these court rulings. 
California, a leading state in water law, established a dual 
water law system officially known as the California doc- 

Norris Hundley Jr., Water and the West, (Berkeley: University of Cali- 
fornia Press, 1975), 333. 

2 Riparian, often referred to as the common law because of its wide use, 
is employed in all but seventeen states of the continental .United States. 
"The fundamental principle of this system is that each riparian proprietor 
has an equal right to make a reasonable use of the waters of the stream,... 
the general rule is that it must be upon a tract of land that is riparian to, that 
is, in contact with the stream from which the water is taken." L. Ward Ban- 
nister, "Interstate Rights in Interstate Streams in the Arid West," 36 Harvard 
Law Review 960, 960 (1922-23). 

3 "The fundamental principle of the appropriation system is that the wa- 
ter user who first puts to beneficial use... the water of a stream, acquires 
thereby the first right to the water, to the extent reasonably necessary to his 
use... Ibid., 961 . The doctrine of prior appropriation first developed in Cali- 
fornia gold mines. Gold mining required a significant amount of water, so 
the miners applied to water a rule they had already created for mining min- 
erals. This code provided that the first person to discover a mineral deposit 
could develop the minerals before anyone else. Farmers used this idea to 
address their concerns about water supply. Mark Squillace, "One Hundred 
Years of Wyoming Water Law," Land and Water Law Review 26 (Winter 
1991): 94. 

4 Robert G. Dunbar, "The Adaptability of Water Law in the Aridity of 
the West," Journal of the West 24 (January 1985): 62. 

5 In 1 878, the California Supreme Court presided over the Lux v. Haggin 
case in which litigants contested a joint water supply. Lux, a supporter of 
the riparian system, protested that Haggin, a proponent of prior appropria- 
tion, violated riparian law by diverting water from the Kern River, which 
denied him the right to an undiminished flow from the stream. Haggin coun- 
tered this argument with his contention that as a prior appropriator he had 
every right to divert the water. In its decision, the California Supreme Court 
ruled in favor of the riparian system, but took care not to reject outright the 
doctrine of prior appropriation. 

Spring 199? 

trine. 6 Most Western states rejected the California doctrine 
because of the possibility of control it afforded the federal 
government and its adherence to the riparian system. These 
states needed an alternative to the California doctrine. 
Colorado's use of the water law system of prior appropria- 
tion developed into this alternative called the Colorado 
doctrine. The Colorado doctrine supported prior appropria- 
tion and gave the state the responsibility to administer the 
acquisition and distribution of water rights. The California 
and Colorado doctrines both influenced much of the early 
court decisions and the development of water law systems 
in different states including Wyoming. 

While using and supporting the Colorado doctrine, Wyo- 
ming had a much more influential contributor to its water 
law system. El wood Mead, the first Territorial and first State 
Engineer for Wyoming, developed the first state controlled 
water rights system in any Western state. 
Mead's system consisted of two basic tenets. One tenet was 
the support of the concept of state ownership of the water 
running through its borders. Mead's commitment to this 
idea led to its inclusion in the Wyoming State Constitution. 
In article 8, section 1 of the State Constitution, Mead wrote". 
. . the water of all natural streams, springs, lakes or other 
collection of still water within the boundaries of the state 
are hereby declared to be the property of the state." 7 The 
doctrine of prior appropriation was the second tenet of 
Mead's system. 

Mead used these two basic tenets to create the system 
used today. He endowed the office of the State Engineer 
with general supervisory control over the waters of the state 
and the power to administer water rights. He created four 
water supervisors, each in charge of a separate water divi- 
sion located throughout the state. These four supervisors 
and the State Engineer comprised the State Board of Con- 
trol. The Board promulgated regulations and supervised the 
allocation and distribution of water. 8 As one unusual fea- 
ture, Mead modified Wyoming's version of prior appro- 
priation by instituting a permit system. A citizen needed to 
obtain a permit from the State Board of Control prior to 
construction. Therefore, the Board held the power to ac- 
cept or reject reclamation and irrigation projects. This sys- 
tem with its firm governmental control allowed Wyoming 
officials to administer and adjudicate its water supply. 

Wyoming successfully implemented a plan to manage 
its intrastate waters. When disputes involved two states, 
however, the argument usually resulted in the Supreme 
Court serving as moderator. Two high profile water law- 
suits serve as examples of these interstate disputes and the 
role of the Supreme Court. In Kansas v. Colorado and Wyo- 
ming v. Colorado, the conflicts involved two states con- 
testing their right to control and use the water from a shared 
stream within their borders. The most important distinc- 
tion between these two cases is the water law system used 
by the litigants. In Kansas v. Colorado, one litigant ad- 
hered to the riparian system and the other prior appropria- 
tion; while in Wyoming v. Colorado both states used the 


doctrine of prior appropriation. The water law system used 
by the litigants and whether it was different or the same 
affected profoundly the decisions made by the Court. 

In 1901, Kansas filed a lawsuit on behalf of its citizens 
against the State of Colorado and certain Colorado compa- 
nies. Kansas farmers had become angered when they learned 
of projects planned in Colorado using water from the Ar- 
kansas River. 9 Colorado lawyers defended the actions of 
its citizens using as support the Colorado doctrine. 10 The 
1906 Supreme Court ruling focused on many important ar- 
eas of water law and resulted in significant conclusions." 
In its most influential conclusion, the Court supported the 
concept of equitable apportionment as a means of compro- 
mise between the different arguments. The Court declared 
that Colorado citizens did have the right to a reasonable 
use of the water of the Arkansas River; but also recognized 
that Kansas citizens had a legitimate right to the water es- 
pecially if Colorado exceeded an equitable limit set by the 
Court. The concept of equitable apportionment allowed the 
Court to bypass any judgment on the superiority of any one 

6 The doctrine gave the riparian owner the right to the water unless the 
prior appropriation came before the riparian land owner acquired the land. 
To support its ruling, the court declared in Lux v. Hoggin that the federal 
government held complete authority to all the water rights on land that had 
been part of the public domain and provided the federal government with 
the authority to administrate and distribute unappropriated waters on this 
land. The federal government held the water rights of a riparian owner, and 
thus, even when the land switched to state control the riparian system re- 
mained. Norris, Water and the West, 71. 

7 Squillace, "One Hundred Years of Wyoming Water Law," 95. 

8 Ibid., 96. 

9 The Arkansas River rises in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and 
flows into and through Kansas. The use of the water by Coloradans caused 
the river's flow to decrease as it traveled into Kansas. The Kansas farmers 
protested that these Colorado projects, by altering the flow into Kansas, 
hurt agriculture. Kansas officials based their case on Colorado's violation 
of the riparian rights of the Kansas farmers, because riparian ownership 
entitled these farmers to an undiminished flow of water. Kansas officials 
felt confident in their position because they adhered to the California dual 
system of acknowledging both the riparian system and prior appropriation 
with the riparian system holding the advantage. The riparian system held 
the advantage because the 1850 California State Legislature adopted the 
riparian system as state law, and although in 1851 they recognized mining 
customs, the foundation for prior appropriation, these customs had to com- 
ply with already existing state laws namely the riparian system. Hundley, 
Water and the West, 68. 

10 The State of Colorado countered the Kansas argument by insisting 
that it held the right to all water flowing inside its borders and used the 
Colorado doctrine for support. As part to its defense, Colorado requested 
that the Supreme Court apply the principles of international law. Colorado 
lawyers reasoned that they had the same relationship to the State of Kansas 
that foreign states had to each other and that in an international dispute 
each nation would unequivocally control the water within its own borders. 
After declaring each state entitled to a portion of the water from the Arkan- 
sas River, the Court proceeded to rule on the case finding that Kansas had 
not made a strong enough case against the Colorado projects. In addition, 
the Court found that these projects would not use more than a reasonable 
share of the water. 

" The Court recognized the sovereignty of every state and denied the 
federal government superior status. This would enhance the state position 
in future cases. In conjunction with its ruling supporting state sovereignty 
came a recognition of the viability of the competing water law systems and 
the idea that no state could impose their system on another. 


Annals oi Wyoming :The Wyoming History Journal 

water system. 12 Many people including the Colorado River 
Compact Commissioners considered equitable apportion- 
ment a reasonable solution and used it during negotiations 
until the decision in Wyoming v. Colorado introduced new 

Wyoming v. Colorado involved competing claims for the 
water of the Laramie River, a small stream rising in Colo- 
rado and flowing into Wyoming. Wyoming citizens had 
become alarmed when they learned that certain Colorado 
companies planned to develop projects to divert Laramie 
River water to a separate watershed in Colorado. The State 
of Wyoming filed a lawsuit in 1911 to have an injunction 
placed on these projects. 13 Colorado found itself embroiled 
in another costly and prolonged lawsuit. 14 

The Supreme Court did not finally rule on the case until 
1922 which coincided with the compact negotiations. Su- 
preme Court Justice Willis Van Devanter wrote the unani- 
mous Court decision. The opinion was extremely clear and 
well constructed, a feature of many Van Devanter opin- 
ions, but perhaps emphasized because Van Devanter was 
from Wyoming and wanted to avoid the appearance of fa- 
voritism. The opinion began with a summary of each state's 
argument and the reasons the Court found these positions 
unacceptable. The court rejected Colorado's argument that 
it could do anything within its own borders and found 
equally untenable Wyoming's complaint about the unfair- 
ness of the diversion to a different watershed. 

In its decision, the Court supported the doctrine of prior 
appropriation finding it appropriate because both states ac- 
cepted it as the law within their state. The prior appropria- 
tion used by the Court was not identical to that used in 
intrastate disputes, because the Court could not ignore state 
lines completely. 15 The Court apportioned to Colorado a 
specific amount of water and ruled that regardless of natu- 
ral flow, Colorado would never receive more or less than 
that amount. 16 

As the Colorado River Compact Commission began ne- 
gotiations and specifically after the Wyoming v. Colorado 
ruling, the question became which ruling might the Com- 
mission favor. This question can not be answered without 
first exploring the history of the compact. 

Although compact negotiations began in 1 92 1 , the influ- 
ences working to produce this call for an agreement began 
much earlier. Arthur Powell Davis, Chief Engineer and sub- 
sequently Director of the Reclamation Service, now the 
Bureau of Reclamation, became an early and persistent 
advocate for development of the Colorado River. 17 

Arthur Powell Davis' interest and subsequent recommen- 
dations for Colorado River development combined with the 
emergence of a booster organization to focus increased at- 
tention upon the discussions surrounding development of 
the Colorado River. The League of the Southwest, a re- 
gional booster organization designed to promote and at- 
tract economic growth for the Southwest region of the coun- 
try with business and political leaders comprising the mem- 
bership, met for the first time in 1917. 18 By the second 

meeting in Tucson, League members realized that the need 
for water dominated all discussions of economic progress. 19 
Delph Carpenter, a legal expert in water law and mem- 
ber of the Colorado defense team in Wyoming v. Colorado, 
proposed the concept of negotiating a compact to regulate 
the Colorado River for the benefit of every state in the Colo- 
rado River Basin. The seven basin states involved in the 
negotiations were Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, 
New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Carpenter, a veteran of 

12 Equitable apportionment guaranteed each state a certain amount of 
water, so they did not have to fear that projects constructed by rival states 
would establish a priority to water and equitable apportionment did not 
require continued administration by an impartial agency, because the Court 
decided the water allocation. Bannister, Interstate Rights in Interstate 
Streams in the Arid West, 98 1 . 

13 Wyoming lawyers argued that since both states used the doctrine of 
prior appropriation neither should object to its application regardless of 
state lines. In this way interstate disputes would use the same water law 
system used by each state for intrastate lawsuits. Wyoming believed it had 
built a strong legal case around the idea that Wyoming citizens had priority 
of appropriation for the water these Colorado companies planned to divert 
to a watershed in Colorado. Wyoming also asserted, as Kansas had, that 
these proposed diversions would cause irreparable harm to the citizens of 
Wyoming, because they would not have the opportunity to use any of the 
water Wyoming lawyers cited previous court opinions, among them Kan- 
sas v. Colorado, to bolster its argument that no state had the right to act 
within its borders in a way that caused injury to the citizens of another state. 
Wyoming v. Colorado, 259 U.S. 419,14, 18 (Supreme Court 1922). 

14 Lawyers for Colorado argued that as a sovereign entity the state had 
the right to control the water within its borders regardless of how it affected 
Wyoming. Colorado officials had the obligation to protect from usurpation 
a resource vital to its citizens. Colorado lawyers also presenting measure- 
ments to show the baseless nature of Wyoming's claim of harm to its citi- 
zens. Furthermore, the Colorado lawyers supported the idea of equitable 
apportionment because they believed that neither the riparian system nor 
prior appropriation could effectively resolve interstate disputes. Ibid., 20. 

15 Russell Denison Niles, "Legal Background of the Colorado River Con- 
troversy" 1 Rocky Mountain Law Review 73, 87 (1929). 

16 The Court modified priority regardless of state lines for several rea- 
sons. First, this ruling avoided problems of administration. Each state had 
its own regulatory agency and within an interstate resolution only one of 
these agencies would administer but which state would relinquish control 
to a rival agency. Second, an allegiance to prior appropriation could actu- 
ally increase the fear that federal projects would establish a priority to wa- 
ter Bannister, Interstate Rights in Interstate Streams in the Arid West, 978. 

l7 As early as 1902, Davis realized the merits of a dam and reservoir on 
the Colorado River in order to regulate the water for both irrigation and 
flood control. Subsequent studies of the Colorado River Basin convinced 
him of the supreme importance of dam construction to alleviate the flood 
menace in Imperial Valley, California. 

18 Hundley, Water and the West, 55. 

19 The most significant meeting following the recognition of this all im- 
portant issue came in 1920 in Los Angeles. At the Los Angeles meeting, 
the League accepted a motion to request Congress to appropriate money to 
have the Reclamation Service investigate the Boulder Canyon site for the 
construction of a dam and reservoir. The Los Angeles meeting and the 
August 25 meeting in Denver focused attention on water availability and 
produced both heated debate and the realization that while League mem- 
bers wanted to solve the conflicts between the states they clearly had differ- 
ent ideas about how to develop the Colorado River. The League continued 
to hold meetings even after the formation of the Colorado River Compact 
Commission. While not a significant influence during the compact nego- 
tiations, the League did have a representative at several of the Commission 
meetings, and although forgotten in the negotiations that followed, the 
League was a motivating force in the history of the Colorado River Com- 

Spring 199? 

prolonged litigation, believed the compact offered a practi- 
cal and less rancorous solution to interstate water disputes. 

The governors of each state met to discuss plans for this 
Commission and on August 19,1921, Congress gave its 
approval for the formation of the Colorado River Compact 
Commission. 20 Each basin state sent one representative to 
the negotiations. These Commissioners included W.S. 
Norviel, State Commissioner of Arizona; W.F. McClure, 
State Engineer of California; Delph Carpenter, interstate 
water lawyer from Colorado; J.G. Scrugham, State Engi- 
neer of Nevada; Stephen B. Davis Jr., Justice of the Su- 
preme Court of New Mexico; R.E. Caldwell, State Engi- 
neer of Utah; and Frank C. Emerson, State Engineer of 
Wyoming. President Harding appointed Herbert Hoover to 
the Commission as the representative for the federal gov- 
ernment. The first meeting opened on January 26,1922, in 
Washington D.C., and included five sessions in five days. 21 
At the end of the meeting, Herbert Hoover proposed the 
organization of a series of hearings to be convened in dif- 
ferent cities throughout the Colorado River Basin. These 
hearings would give the Commissioners the opportunity to 
hear from the residents of each community. 

After these six hearings, including one in Cheyenne, the 
Commissioners met again in Santa Fe, New Mexico on 
November 9, 1922. The most significant change from the 
previous meeting was that the states agreed to conduct ne- 
gotiations as two groups based on location along the Colo- 
rado River. The Commissioners realized that they did not 
have the appropriate data to allocate water to each state. 
Although some states were located in both basins, the usu- 
ally recognized division was the upper basin including 
Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah and the lower 
basin comprising Arizona, California, and Nevada. This idea 
of two divisions proved advantageous in the negotiations 
because the states within a particular basin shared similar 
apprehensions and combine their resources and influence. 22 

The Court handed down its decision in Wyoming v. Colo- 
rado during these negotiations. The Commissioners now 
had two divergent, but equally significant Court rulings to 
consider. Most Commissioners favored the concept of eq- 
uitable apportionment established in Kansas v. Colorado, 
but considered the decision in Wyoming v. Colorado alarm- 
ing. For example, Delph Carpenter feared that if the com- 
pact failed, the Wyoming v. Colorado ruling would give 
priority to the lower basin, because it was in a better posi- 
tion to first put the water to beneficial use. 

Other lawyers, however, did not believe the Wyoming v. 
Colorado decision had much bearing on the compact. Den- 
ver attorney, L. Ward Bannister, did not believe the deci- 
sion should alarm the compact participants. Bannister rea- 
soned that while Wyoming v. Colorado dealt with two prior 
appropriation states, not all the compact participants ad- 
hered to that doctrine. For instance, California used a mixed 
system of riparian and prior appropriation. Bannister con- 
cluded that equitable apportionment proved a more com- 
patible rule for use in the negotiations. He expressed this 


opinion before the Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce and 
stressed to Wyoming citizens that with cooperation and 
equitable apportionment they would get their share. 23 

The Commissioners worked hard to overcome their con- 
flicts and finally reached an agreement on November 22 in 
Santa Fe. The compact has eleven articles, and although 
brief it does rule on all the issues that concerned the Com- 

The compact provides for the equal division of water 
between the basins at the demarcation point of Lee's Ferry, 
Arizona. The upper and lower basins each received 
7,500,000, acre-feet. In addition, the lower basin received 
permission to use an additional 1,000,000 acre-feet if 
needed. The compact required the upper basin to supply 
the lower basin with 75,000,000 acre-feet in any ten-year 
period. 24 The compact also defined terminology, subordi- 
nated navigation and power generation to other water uses, 
agreed that any treaty with Mexico would be shared equally 
between the basins, and granted a moratorium of forty years 
on future allocations, which would allow the upper basin 
time for construction and also allow the lower basin to move 
forward with planned construction. 

'Congress stated what it believed to be the purpose to provide for 

the equitable division and apportionment of the use of the waters of the 
Colorado River system; to establish the relative importance of different ben- 
eficial uses of water; to promote interstate comity; to remove causes of 
present and future controversies; and to secure the expeditious agricultural 
and industrial development of the Colorado River basin, the storage of this 
waters and the protection of life and property from floods." Colorado River 
Compact History Seven-State Compact and Future Development by Walter 
Gordon Clark 1924, p. 12, State Engineer Record Group 0037, Colorado 
River Compact Commission, Box 5, Folder: The Colorado River History 
Seven-State Compact and Future Development, Wyoming State Archives 
and Records Management Section, Cultural Resources Division, Cheyenne. 

21 The Commissioners discussed many issues including development 
projects on the river, water supply predictions, storage facilities, and power 
generation. Each Commissioner worked to establish a position favorable to 
his citizens. These initial negotiations revealed that the states did not share 
a significant amount of common ground and reaching an agreement would 
require compromises by the participants. 

22 The upper basin feared that projects constructed by the lower basin 
especially, the dam and reservoir at Boulder Canyon would establish for 
the lower basin a legally recognized priority to that water and result in both 
a reduced water supply and restrictions on upper basin development. The 
upper basin Commissioners distrusted Arthur Powell Davis' conclusion that 
with proper conservation programs enough water existed for all the pro- 
posed projects. In addition, the upper basin remained suspicious of Califor- 
nia, because often the discussion seemed to center around that state's diffi- 
culties, especially with flooding and power needs. The lower basin had its 
own set of concerns. As mentioned previously the people in Imperial Val- 
ley, California lived with the constant threat of flooding. In addition, these 
states realized that any treaty with Mexico would claim water flow ling 
through the lower basin and they did not want the sole responsibility of 
supplying that water. In an interesting parallel, the lower basin believed 
that projects constructed on the headwaters would not only affect their water 
supply, but would also provide the upper basin with priority to that water. 

23,1 Warns Wyoming of Importance of Safeguarding its Water" State En- 
gineer Record Group 0037, Colorado River Compact Commission, Box 1, 
Folder: Correspondence Jan. 3 - Dec. 30 1921, Wyoming Department of 
Commerce, State Archives and Records Management Section, Cultural Re- 
sources Division, Cheyenne. 

24 Niles, Legal Background of the Colorado River Controversy, 94. 


Annals of Wyoming :The Wyoming History Journal 

Following the signing of the compact, the Commission- 
ers accompanied the compact back to their respective states 
to oversee ratification by their state legislature. All seven 
Commissioners believed that ratification would come 
quickly. The compact, however, would not be ratified by 
all seven states until 1944. 25 

The compact was the result of eight men, representing 
seven states and the federal government, working together 
to resolve conflict. Wyoming was one of these states and 
Frank Emerson one of these men. Wyomingites both pub- 
lic officials and private citizens had an interest in protect- 
ing Wyoming. Many people expressed their opinions, but 
two citizens accepted the responsibility to articulate the 
positions of either accepting or rejecting the compact. Frank 
Emerson supported the Colorado River Compact; while 
Nellis Corthell advocated considering Wyoming's interest 
above all else. 

Wyoming's connection to the Colorado River is its two 
tributaries, the Green and Little Snake Rivers, and 
Wyoming's interest in the compact, as with all Western 
states, stemmed from the need for water. The citizens of 
Wyoming used the water from these tributaries for irriga- 
tion projects; projects that primarily served the agricultural 
needs of producing feed for Wyoming's livestock industry. 

Wyoming citizens and government officials knew the im- 
portance of the Colorado River for economic livelihood, 
and understood the need for a compact to both apportion 
the water and monitor development. At the same time, how- 
ever, these citizens worried about how a compact could 
adversely affect economic growth. 

25 By February of 1923, the Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and 
Colorado legislatures had all ratified the compact. The lower basin states of 
California and Arizona continued to distrust each other and their attempts 
to gain additional protection blocked ratification. California added resolu- 
tions to the compact in order to strengthen its position and Arizona filed 
several major lawsuits. As the years dragged by without ratification, the 
upper basin and Nevada began working with California to modify the com- 
pact to decrease by one the number of states needed for ratification. This 
modified compact did pass, but did not have the spirit of cooperation and 
unity hoped for by the Commission. After filing and losing several law- 
suits, Arizona finally ratified the Colorado River Compact on February 
3,1944. Arizona and California, however, did not resolve their conflict un- 
til a 1963 Supreme Court decision. In comparison to the contentious nature 
of the lower basin controversy, the upper basin had a relatively easy time 
allocating its water supply. By 1 948, the Upper Basin Colorado River Com- 
pact had been ratified by all the states, accepted by Congress, and put into 
action. This compact apportioned to each state a percentage of the upper 
basin water supply allocated in the Colorado River Compact. Colorado re- 
ceived 51.75%, New Mexico 1 1.25%, Utah 23%, and Wyoming 14%. The 
use of percentages reflected the upper basin's uncertainty as to how much 
water would remain after they supplied the lower basin. Norris, Water and 
the West, 301. 

Nellis Corthell (back row, second from left) is shown with the rest of the lawyers practicing in Laramie in the early 
1900s. Corthell 's practice included considerable work in water law. The bearded man in the back row, center is M. C 
Brown, who had served as president of the Constitutional Convention in 1889 when the water article was drafted. 

Spring 199? 

In addition to the concerns shared with the upper basin, 
Wyoming had separate experiences that also influenced 
public opinion about the compact. The Pathfinder Dam rep- 
resented one such experience for Wyoming citizens. The 
Reclamation Service began construction on the Pathfinder 
Dam in South Central Wyoming on the North Platte River 
in 1905 and finished in 1909. The construction permit had 
been granted by Wyoming to the federal government be- 
cause citizens thought they would benefit from the dam. 
Although located in Wyoming, the dam had been built pri- 
marily to regulate water downstream in Nebraska, and soon 
after dam construction ended, the Reclamation Service be- 
came concerned that Nebraska might not receive enough 
water for its irrigation projects. As a preventive measure, 
the Reclamation Service placed an embargo on Wyoming 
development. Wyoming citizens and officials considered 
the embargo unfair, and repeatedly sought redress, but the 
Reclamation Service lifted the embargo only after a 1918 
joint study between the state and the federal government 
found the restriction unnecessary. 

This situation haunted many Wyomingites and in response 
to these concerns, the Wyoming delegation attending the 
Denver meeting of the League of the Southwest in 1920 
resolved to protect Wyoming. Wyoming Commissioner 
Frank Emerson agreed that the Pathfinder Dam served as a 
warning. He expressed his displeasure in Wyoming's treat- 
ment by the Reclamation Service, but he believed that the 
compact would provide ample protection. 26 

An anonymous narrative written in 1925 confirmed the 
resentment and bitterness felt by many Wyoming citizens 
toward the actions of the Reclamation Service and others 
involved in projects on the North Platte River This narra- 
tive represented how one Wyoming citizen viewed both 
the process toward and the eventual agreement reached in 
building the Pathfinder Dam. "This dam was built under 
false pretenses and Wyoming was thereby deprived of re- 
claiming a vast amount of acreage which would have been 
irrigated had the plans been carried out as the people of 
Wyoming were led to believe they would." 27 The narrator 
related his/her understanding that the representatives of 
several companies visited Casper and told citizens that the 
proposed projects would irrigate 1,380,000 acres in Wyo- 
ming. The narrator believed these projects had either been 
abandoned or postponed. 

The Colorado River Compact Commission hearing in 
Cheyenne on April 2, 1922, began with opening remarks 
from Wyoming Governor Robert D. Carey. Carey reiter- 
ated the need for Wyoming to protect its own interests and 
to consider the future in all its decisions. At the same time, 
he acknowledged the need for compromise in order to bring 
about an agreement. Frank Emerson attended the hearings 
as Wyoming's Commissioner, therefore, Nellis Corthell 
spoke on behalf of the governor and the state. 

Corthell had a strong connection to water law especially 
those laws involving the Colorado River. He served as a 
member of the Wyoming legal team during Wyoming v. 


Colorado and also devoted a considerable amount of his 
private law practice to water issues. In addition, he had 
business connections to companies such the Laramie Riv- 
ers company and Pioneer Canal company both of which 
supplied water to farmers and ranchers west of Laramie 
including the Green River Basin. As a civic leader, Corthell 
actively participated in organizations such as the Wyoming 
Central Land and Improvement Company. Corthell's ac- 
tivities and speeches reveal his strong commitment to 
Wyoming's economic prosperity especially concerning the 
Colorado River. 

Corthell began his talk before the Commission with the 
observation that in an effort to reduce friction the Commis- 
sion was attempting to negotiate the compact outside of 
current law. As Corthell saw it, these Commissioners wanted 
to establish a new rule and method for solving water dis- 
putes. He believed that only by working within the already 
defined legal system could the Commissioners hope to make 
a lasting impression. 

As additional motivation for considering the current le- 
gal system the Commissioners needed to realize that if the 
negotiations failed current interstate water laws would re- 
main in effect and even if the compact succeeded certain 
areas of the law not dealt with by the compact such as 
interbasin disputes would remain under the jurisdiction of 
existing judge-made law. 28 Regardless of Corthell's obser- 
vation, the Commissioners did seem aware of the legal sys- 
tem. For example, Frank Emerson supported his arguments 
using court decisions and in particular he believed that the 
decision in Wyoming v. Colorado upheld the legality of the 
interbasin transfer of water used extensively by Wyoming. 

Corthell continued his talk by focusing on specific issues 
important to Wyoming that he did not want the Commis- 
sion to overlook. He began with a discussion of the ben- 
efits of construction alternatives to Boulder Dam. For ex- 
ample, building reservoirs on the headwaters would ben- 
efit all the basin states. A reservoir would alleviate the flood 
menace in California and provide the upper basin with both 
storage facilities and the water necessary to produce elec- 
tricity. The California companies that vied for power fa- 
cilities worried Wyoming citizens because attention often 
focused exclusively on California's needs. 

Although most concerns for power generation came from 
California, other Western states had power needs. Corthell 
used the people and industries located in the Green River 
Basin as an example of Wyoming citizens who would soon 
need power. The citizens of the Green River Basin would 
need electricity for different industries such as the Union 
Pacific Railroad main line, mining operations, and the em- 
ployees of these mines. The Green River Basin had the larg- 
est coal mining operation in the country and needed elec- 

:6 "Protection of State Water Rights Urged," The Casper Daily Tribune. 
3 April 1922. 

27 Pathfinder Dam, Irrigation-Pathfinder Projects (irr7-pp), American 
Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie. 

:8 Niles, Legal Background of The Colorado River Controversy. 74. 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

tricity for increased productivity, and with the electrifica- 
tion of the railroad, would have a way to ship coal more 
cheaply to market. The mining employees in Green River 
had an extremely high cost of living because all their food 
was imported, but an increase in local food productivity 
would reduce this economic hardship and perhaps attracted 
more people to the area. 

Next, Corthell presented his questions and concerns about 
the available water supply. He did not have the conviction 
of many in the Reclamation Service and the Commission 
that an adequate water supply existed. To alleviate these 
doubts, Corthell proposed caution regarding water alloca- 
tion. "It seems to me that it would be unwise and unsafe to 
proceed upon the theory that enough is definitely and accu- 
rately known to enable this commission to reach a conclu- 
sion as to the water needs of each of these states without 
any opportunity for future investigation or to profit by fu- 
ture experience." 29 He did not oppose allocation, but ad- 
vanced the idea of a tentative allotment, perhaps allocating 
a third or half of the established water supply. The Com- 
mission could allocate the remainder of the water as addi- 
tional studies revealed a more complete picture of the avail- 
able water. In his final analysis, Corthell did not reject the 
compact concept; he simply urged caution for Wyoming 
and all the states. 

The Commission had also invited eight prominent Wyo- 
ming citizens to speak at the hearing. These citizens in- 
cluded C.E. Beveridge representing the Green River Com- 
munity Club; Thomas J. Brough, former state senator and 
member of the Green River development company; John 
W. Hay, businessman from Rock Springs; J. H. Jacobucci 
from Green River; Herbert V. Lacey from Cheyenne; J. D. 
Pederson from Jackson; P W. Spaulding a lawyer from 
Evanston; and T.S. Taliaferro, a banker and rancher, from 
Rock Springs. Several speakers discussed how the com- 
pact would potentially effect different industries in Wyo- 
ming while others spoke more generally about how Wyo- 
ming might protect its interests. 

C.E. Beveridge, P.W. Spaulding, and T.S. Taliaferro all 
expressed concern about the water supply and proposed 
ways Wyoming could protect itself. As a measure of pro- 
tection for Wyoming, Spaulding wanted the Commission 
to define the water rights to the Colorado River using cur- 
rently known minimum flow and presently known irrigable 
acres of each state. For additional security both Spaulding 
and Beveridge expressed the need for an agency to admin- 
ister future regulation. Beveridge wanted this regulating 
agency to oversee future conflicts both as a way to handle 
disputes and to deny the Supreme Court any opportunity to 
misinterpret the agreement made between the states. In The 
Colorado River Compact, Reuel Leslie Olson wrote that 
many Commissioners including Frank Emerson accepted 
and supported the concept of a permanent Commission to 
allocate water as the need arose. 30 

Several speakers discussed the benefits that would ac- 
company construction on the headwaters of the Colorado 

River Thomas J. Brough articulated what he determined to 
be the advantages to building reservoirs on the upper river; 
the use of the water for irrigation projects in the highlands 
would conserve that water for the lowlands. PW. Spaulding 
agreed with Brough. ". . . the irrigation of lands in a terri- 
tory tends to increase and establish the future flow of the 
streams draining that territory and lands lower than the irri- 
gated area. So, as fast as the upper basin is irrigated, to that 
extent the flow of water in the lower basin will be gradu- 
ally increased." 31 J.H. Jacobucci presented a specific pro- 
posal for the construction of three small reservoirs in the 
upper basin. These reservoirs would serve as protection 
against floods and would also benefit the upper basin by 
generating needed electricity 

John W. Hay and Herbert V. Lacey spoke about the dif- 
ferent issues involving the water needs of Wyoming indus- 
tries. Hay, a prominent financier of agriculture and indus- 
try, stressed the need for irrigation projects to guarantee 
production of enough feed for the livestock industry. Lacey 
presented the concerns and desires of the railroad industry. 
He agreed with Corthell that the railroad in the Green River 
Basin soon would need locally generated electricity. With 
electricity the railroad industry could potentially decrease 
transportation costs and allow Wyoming industries to keep 
pace with technology and remain competitive. 

Cheyenne ended the series of hearings and the Commis- 
sioners planned their next meeting. As the final word, 
Hoover expressed his thanks to the speakers from all the 
states and his sincere belief that an agreement would be 

At the hearings, Frank Emerson, acting like all the other 
Commissioners, questioned Nellis Corthell. Emerson 
brought a considerable amount of experience to his role as 
a Commissioner. After his arrival in Wyoming in 1904, he 
worked as an engineer both private and public. In 1919, 
Governor Robert Carey appointed him State Engineer to 
fill an unexpired term and in 1921, Carey appointed him 
for a full six-year term. The prominence he gained through- 
out the state while working as a Colorado River Compact 
Commissioner led to his nomination as the Republican can- 
didate for governor in 1926. In the election, he defeated 
Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross and Wyoming voters reelected 
him in 1930. He died unexpectedly in 1931. 

Emerson's questioning of Corthell at the hearing provided 
a brief glimpse of his opinions. He believed the Commis- 
sion could reach an agreement supportive of Wyoming's 

29 Minutes of the Colorado River Compact Commission, Cheyenne April 
2, 1 922, State Engineer Record Group 0037, Colorado River Interstate Com- 
pact Commission Hearing (Cheyenne, Wyoming April 2,1922 ,12th meet- 
ing), n.p., Wyoming Department of Commerce, State Archives and Records 
Management Section Cultural Resources Division, Cheyenne. 

30 Reuel Leslie Olson, The Colorado River Compact, (n.p., 1926)197. 

3 ' Minutes of the Colorado River Compact Commission, Cheyenne April 
2, 1 922, State Engineer Record Group 0037, Colorado River Interstate Com- 
pact Commission Hearing (Cheyenne, Wyoming April 2,1922, 12th meet- 
ing) n.p., Wyoming Department of Commerce, State Archives and Records 
Management Section, Cultural Resources Division, Cheyenne. 

Spring 199? 

needs. Emerson's report to Governor William Ross in 1923, 
titled Report of Frank C. Emerson Commissioner of the 
State of Wyoming in Re to Colorado River Compact, his 
letters and speeches document his support for the compact. 

As a Commissioner, Emerson assigned himself the dual 
responsibility to protect Wyoming's interests and to assist 
in the special opportunity presented with the compact to 
change how interstate water disputes were handled. As an 
example of his commitment to Wyoming, Emerson stated 
that until all the states ratified the compact, Wyoming re- 
mained justified in opposing any development projects on 
the lower river. 32 The statement revealed not only Emerson's 
commitment to Wyoming, but also his belief that the com- 
pact as written protected Wyoming to the extent that de- 
velopment projects on the lower river were not a threat. 

Emerson chose to explore specific aspects of the com- 
pact in order to explain how Wyoming benefited. One by 
one, he dismissed the concerns of the Wyoming public. First, 
rather than California seeming to have all the control, the 
division of states into two basins placed Wyoming in a su- 
perior bargaining position. As part of the upper basin, Wyo- 
ming would retain control of a significant portion of the 
water in its tributaries, because it could put to use nearly 
two thirds of the amount it contributed to the Colorado River 
System. Second, many Wyoming citizens did not consider 
a dam on the lower river beneficial, but Emerson presented 
a new prospective. A reservoir at Boulder Canyon allowed 


the lower states to store water, which would decrease their 
demand for water and alleviate Wyoming's burden. 

Finally Emerson believed the compact sufficiently ad- 
dressed the concern about construction on the lower river 
establishing a priority. In article II 1(f), the compact re- 
stricted any new apportionment of water until 1963. In this 
forty-year moratorium, Wyoming could develop reclama- 
tion projects and gain control of the future of the Green and 
Little Snake Rivers. The construction that Wyoming could 
accomplish in these forty years would place Wyoming, and 
not California, in a position to request additional alloca- 
tions of water. The report to Governor William Ross, and 
many speeches given by Emerson clearly indicated his sup- 
port of the compact he helped to create. 

After receiving a copy of the final draft of the compact, 
Nellis Corthell continued his campaign for caution. He ar- 
ticulated specific concerns about the written compact in 
speeches before both the Wyoming and Colorado Legisla- 
tures as these two bodies debated ratification. In direct re- 
sponse to Corthell, Frank Emerson addressed many of these 
criticisms in a narrative titled "Answer to Corthell Criti- 
cism." The most significant issues raised by Corthell and 
responded to by Emerson included the terminology used in 
the compact, and concerns over the available water supply. 

"Speech at Weekly Luncheon of Lion's Club given by Frank Emerson, 
Frank Emerson Papers, Collection 43, Box 2, Folder 9, American Heritage 
Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie. 

A Nevada boosters ' group poses in Boulder Canyon, near the site chosen for the Boulder (Hoover) Dam. 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

Although Emerson dismissed many of Corthell's criticisms, 
he supported the general call for caution. 

Corthell's concern over the different terms defined in the 
compact stemmed from a fear of misinterpretation, which 
Emerson did not view as a problem. Corthell thought the 
definition of the term "domestic use" problematic. 33 The 
definition, which included mining, milling, municipal, and 
industrial strayed from the commonly accepted definition 
of domestic use as meaning only household and agricul- 
ture. Corthell believed this hybrid definition would create 
confusion, especially since the court had at times given the 
advantage to domestic use over prior appropriation. 34 
Emerson answered this criticism by indicating that the com- 
pact did not say what domestic use would mean, but rather 
what the definition should include and he considered this 
phrasing far less ominous than did Corthell. 

Corthell also disagreed with any mention of electricity 
in the domestic use definition. He did not believe that the 
subordination of power to other uses sufficiently protected 
Wyoming. "The steady continuous flow necessary to the 
economical use for power purposes does not wholly coin- 
cide with the varying and seasonal use of the stored water 
for irrigation. The power interest because of its vastly domi- 
nating character and value of its use would probably in time 
acquire control." 35 Emerson stated in a letter to Wyoming 
Senator John Kendrick that he felt the compact satisfacto- 
rily protected Wyoming from power interests. "When the 
compact becomes law we need not fear that the establish- 
ment of great power plants upon the river will in any way 
interfere with our use of the water for irrigation. Without a 
compact we would have much to fear from this source." 36 

The different methods used for measuring the water sup- 
ply yielded divergent results. 37 This concerned both the 
Commissioners and Corthell who had raised this issue at 
the hearing in Cheyenne. Corthell felt that rather than alle- 
viate his concerns the compact only confirmed his appre- 
hensions. For example, the compact did not provide infor- 
mation about how the Commissioners had reached their 
decision for allocations nor did it estimate the future needs 
of the two basins. Corthell pointed out that the measure- 
ments the Commission had used to decide on water allot- 
ments came from gauging stations at Yuma, Arizona, and 
not from measurements taken at Lee's Ferry. 38 Corthell also 
mentioned that Emerson's figures did not match those of 
the Reclamation Service. In the face of these discrepan- 
cies, Corthell again urged careful deliberation. 

The known imperfections of measurement and observa- 
tion, as well as the enormous variation in stream flow which 
is known to occur over long periods of time suggest cau- 
tion even in ordinary projects, and even though they may 
be temporary in their character. Where, however, as in this 
case, the apportionment based upon these data is "in perpe- 
tuity" and where it affects subjects and interests of such 
vast and unknown value, the need of caution is multiplied 
many fold. 39 

Emerson thoroughly dissected this criticism to discredit 
it. He predicted the total flow per-annum to be 20,000,000 

acre-feet. In support of his measurement, Emerson presented 
two different methods that one could use to reach his fig- 
ure. One method used Laguna Dam and Gila tributary mea- 
surements and the other Yuma, Arizona, discharge and con- 
sumptive use. To further disprove Corthell, Emerson indi- 
cated that Corthell did not understand the concept of stream 

Although Emerson was well respected as the State Engi- 
neer, many citizens in Wyoming agreed with Corthell that 
the compact needed close scrutiny and debate. In one edi- 
torial the unknown author represented a group of Wyoming 
citizens when he/she wrote, "We believe, as do many oth- 
ers on Snake River, that this pact as drawn up should never 
be ratified by the states of the upper drainage basin com- 
prising Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico." 40 
The editorial also discussed the chief concerns of this group 
including control of Wyoming water being shared with 
people living hundreds of miles away and the influence Cali- 
fornia seemed to wield in the proceedings. 

In addition to Wyoming citizens, government officials 
took an interest in the compact. Wyoming Senator John 
Kendrick's interest is documented in letters to both Gover- 
nor Robert Carey and Frank Emerson. In a March 14, 1922, 
letter to Governor Carey, Kendrick noted that since the 
beginning of his time in office the issue of water had been 
important to his constituents. He wrote that any decision 
reached about water allocation would greatly affect whether 
Wyoming would remain a desert or be reclaimed and in- 
crease its potential for economic growth. In the same let- 
ter, Kendrick expressed his confidence in Carey's protec- 
tion of Wyoming's interest in the Green River. 

33 Article II of the compact defined domestic use as including use of 

water for household, stock, municipal, mining, milling, industrial, and other 
like purposes, but shall exclude the generation of electrical' power. Earl 
Lloyd and Paul A. Rechard comp., Compacts, Treaties, and Court Decrees, 
Wyoming: State of Wyoming, 1957, 24. 

34 "A Digest of the Corthell Paper on the Colorado River Compact," 
Laramie Republican, 15 January 1923. 

35 N. E. Corthell, "The Colorado River Problem," 9 American Bar Asso- 
ciation Journal 289, 291(1923). 

36 Frank Emerson to Senator John Kendrick, 7 December 1922, John 
Kendrick Papers, Collection 341, Box 37, Folder: 1922 December, Ameri- 
can Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie. 

37 At the hearing different Commissioners proposed allocation plans us- 
ing different measurements. For example, Herbert Hoover used Reclama- 
tion Service figures at Lee's Ferry and Delph Carpenter used Reclamation 
Service figures at Yuma, Arizona. These discrepancies produced conflict. 
In 1928 the Sibert Board, a group of engineers under the supervision of 
Colonel Major William Sibert, evaluated the engineering features of Boul- 
der Dam in a report to Congress. As a tool in its evaluation, the Board re- 
constructed the flow at Boulder Canyon and found that the Reclamation 
Service misjudged the flow by 1,000,000 acre-feet in its estimate of 
15,000,000 acre-feet. The Sibert Board gave as a reason for the error, poor 
gauging equipment at Yu ma, Arizona. In addition, the Reclamation Ser- 
vice failed to account for years of unusually low flow before 1905 and 
unusually heavy flow after 1905. 

38 N. E. Corthell, "The Colorado River Problem-Il," 9 American Bar As- 
sociation Journal 387, 389 (1923). 

"Ibid., 389. 

40 Newspaper Article, "the Colorado River Pact Detrimental to Upper 
Basin," 26 January 1923, Irrigation-Colorado River Compact (lrr7-crc), 
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie. 



Kendrick's interest in the compact increased after Frank 
Emerson sent him a copy of the compact. Emerson's work 
with the Commission earned him Kendrick's support. "My 
anxiety now is, as it has always been, that no agreement be 
made that would in any way restrict the maximum devel- 
opment of the irrigation possibilities of our own state and I 
feel sure that your efforts have been inspired by the same 
thought and purpose." 4 ' Additional proof of Kendrick's deep 
commitment to Wyoming's water usage comes from his 
belief that his successful campaign in Congress for support 
of the Casper-Alcova reclamation project in Wyoming was 
the pinnacle of his career. 

Despite the protest by these Wyoming citizens and the 
caution urged by Nellis Corthell, the legislative record does 
not include any debate over the compact. The official record 
in the House and Senate Journals for the Seventeenth Leg- 
islature of Wyoming simply state that following a vote, the 
bill passed 43 to 11. The statement made by Converse 
County State Senator, Wade Fowler lends veracity to the 
assumption that the bill did not have difficulty passing. 
Fowler said "I admit my ignorance concerning the bill. But 
I have so much confidence in our state engineer that I feel 
sure he would never have agreed to the compact if it were 
not a square deal for Wyoming." 43 

Governor William Ross signed the bill into law on Feb- 
ruary 2,1923. Although supported by the Wyoming Legis- 
lature the bill did have to overcome uncertainty by the leg- 
islature in 1923,1925, and 1929. There exists an eyewit- 
ness account to the debate in the 1925 legislative session 
that belies the idea that the bill passed without conflict. 
Frank Emerson's wife, Jean Emerson, later Jean Emerson 
Grothe, witnessed the proceedings of the House Joint ses- 
sion from the balcony of the House Chambers. She recalled 
that very late in the session a vote was called and the bill 
failed. She ran to find her husband and brought him back to 
the House chambers. After confirming that the bill did not 
have support, Emerson spent the next hours meeting with 
small groups of legislators in the hallway to convince them 
to change their votes. Emerson's efforts proved successful 
and in a new vote Wyoming politicians remained loyal to 
the compact. Several newspaper articles also relate this same 
story under the heading of stop the clock. 

On the last night of the 1925 session of the state legisla- 
ture a bill approving a provisional ratification by Wyoming 
of the Colorado river compact was killed. Emerson learned 
of the action and unaided, in the face of the opposition of 
party leaders, prevailed upon leaders of the legislature to 
stop the clock, continue the session through Sunday and 
late Monday, under suspension of the rules, pass a new rati- 
fication bill. 44 

The story Mrs. Emerson remembered proved to be an 
exciting finish for the compact's journey in Wyoming. 45 
Following its journey through all the state legislatures, end- 
ing in 1944, the compact became the law of the river and 
has served in that capacity ever since. The compact, how- 
ever, did not resolve all conflict. The same concerns that 
propelled the Colorado River Compact Commissioners to 


accept the challenge of working toward a multistate agree- 
ment, primarily the need for water, continues to produce 
conflict today Many people living in the Colorado River 
Basin especially the lower basin states believe that the time 
has come to renegotiate the compact. California, Arizona, 
and Nevada believe that the compact's favoring of agricul- 
ture must change to reflect the needs of today's overpopu- 
lated cities demanding water for consumptive use. "Las 
Vegas is trying to establish an urban alliance with Southern 
California, the biggest consumer of Colorado water, to re- 
duce the grip that agriculture has on the river's water." 46 

In 1994, the push for renegotiation increased when Ne- 
vada successfully petitioned for a series of hearings in the 
United States Senate. Nevada's water shortage continues 
to increase in severity and without new water sources Las 
Vegas will run out of water by 2017. As with the compact 
in 1 922, the upper basin again unites in fear about how the 
proposed changes to allocation will affect their economic 
livelihood. Wyoming State Engineer, Gordon Fasset met 
with water officials in the Colorado River Basin states three 
times between February and June of 1994 to discuss the 
concerns about the Colorado River. Fasset then met with 
the Colorado River Basin Coordinating Committee, a twenty 
member committee that advises the State Engineer on 
Wyoming's share of the Colorado River He introduced two 
water banking schemes proposed by Arizona and Nevada. 

The lower basin has successfully placed their water con- 
cerns on the national agenda. Although perhaps overshad- 
owed, Wyoming officials remain pessimistic about 
Wyoming's water future. In 1994, the state water official 
in Big Piney predicted that Water District 4, which includes 
the Green River Basin, could expect less than normal stream 
flow. 47 Clearly the negotiations 72 years earlier that resulted 
in the Colorado River Compact only served as an introduc- 
tion to the issue of sharing the water of the Colorado River. 

4l John Kendrick to Frank Emerson, 23 December 1922, John Kendrick 
Papers, Collection 341, Box 37, Folder: 1922 December American Heri- 
tage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie. 

42 The Casper-Alcova project began in 1927 and Kendrick soon became 
a strong advocate. The project was renamed the Kend rick project in 1937. 

43 Hundley, Water and the West, 222. 

44 "Emerson Began Wyoming Career As An Engineer" Lander Post, 20 
February 1931. Frank Collins Emerson (B-Em33-fc), American Heritage 
Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie. The article "Death Comes Swiftly 
After Five-Day Illness, Heart Attack Is Fatal," Laramie Boomerang, 19 
February 1931, repeated the same story. 

45 Jean Emerson Grothe to Dr. Hudley [sic], 20 April 1967, Folder H70- 
153, Colorado Compact, Wyoming Department of Commerce, Historical 
Research and Publications Section, Cheyenne. 

46 "Las Vegas Stakes Claim in 90's Water War," New York Times, 10 
April 1994. 

47 "Wyo eyes 'water-banking' schemes," Casper Star Tribune, 1 1 June 

Jennifer King, formerly reference archivist at the 
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, is 
a graduate of Brandeis University, Waltham, Massa- 
chusetts. She earned the M.L.S. degree from the Uni- 
versity of Michigan. Presently, she lives and works in 
northern Virginia. 

Fencing Out the Foreigner: 

Influences on the 18th Legislature of Wyoming 
and Its Exclusion of Foreign Physicians 

By Susan Macki and Eric D. Kohler 

T3 eady access to medical care has been the subject 
-^■^of significant concern, discussion, and action over 
the past twenty years in the state of Wyoming. During 
that time substantial state resources have been expended 
on two Family Practice residency centers in Cheyenne 
and Casper to address the issue of physician 
maldistribution around the state. Historically, this situ- 
ation was nothing new. During the second half of the 
twentieth century, some Wyoming cities and towns — 
Jackson, Sheridan, Casper, Gillette, Rock Springs, 
Laramie and Cheyenne — were better supplied with 
medical facilities and health care providers than other 
more remote, less scenic, less populous and less pros- 
perous towns dotting the state's 97,000 odd square miles 
were not. 1 

The root of this problem lies in the historic supply of 
physicians in the state. As shown in the table (page 
23), during the first half of the twentieth century the 
supply of practicing physicians around the state re- 
mained relatively constant in the face of generally un- 
dramatic but nonetheless persistent increases in 
Wyoming's population. 

That the number of physicians in Wyoming remained 
so constant for so long can be attributed to two forces. 
The first was the grip that nativist fallout stemming 
from Worid War I would exercise on both the nation 
and Wyoming during the 1920s and 1930s. The sec- 
ond was the self-interest of the state's established phy- 
sicians in limiting competition—both among physicians 
and from nurse midwives- through stringent licensure 
requirements. Both merged in 1924 when the State Leg- 
islature revised the Wyoming medical licensure stat- 
utes to prevent foreign medical graduates from obtain- 
ing licenses to practice their profession in the Equality 

Between the two World Wars many Americans be- 
came intensely isolationist in their political philoso- 

phies. 2 The fear of the foreigner that had been held in 
some abeyance before World War I came into full 
bloom in the American heartland during the 
became part of the mainstream of contemporary Ameri- 
can scientific belief. Wyoming did not escape the in- 
fluence of this national paranoia, and indeed, had its 
own 100% American movement and proselytizers of 
opposition to immigration. 

In Wyoming the propagators of mistrust and preju- 
dice did not act under the guise of a secret organiza- 
tion, although there is some evidence of Klan activity 
in Wyoming at the time. Rather, the state's xenophobes 
were confident that they formed a majority, and confi- 
dent of the propriety of their insular movement within 
Wyoming and the nation. 4 It was one of the movement's 
enduring successes that it would ban the entry of for- 
eign trained physicians into Wyoming, and, as a by- 
product, exclude the children of "undesirable" foreign- 
ers from medical practice in the state as well. 

Here nativism would intersect with the reform of 
medical education that began in the earlier part of the 
century under the auspices of the Carnegie and 
Rockefeller Foundations. 5 In 1910, under the sponsor- 
ship of the first, there had appeared the famous "Bulle- 

1 With a population of approximately 30,000, Laramie, for ex- 
ample, has in excess of thirty physicians and one of the top hun- 
dred hospitals in the United States. 

2 David H. Bennett, The Party of Fear: From Nativist Move- 
ments To the New Right in American History (Chapel Hill: Uni- 
versity of North Carolina Press, 1988), pp. 159-238. 

3 Lawrence Cardoso, "Nativism in Wyoming, 1868-1930: 
Changing Perceptions of Foreign Immigrants," Annals of Wyo- 
ming 58 (Spring 1986): 31; and Cody Enterprise, January 7, 1925. 

4 William Howard Moore, "Progressivism and the Social Gos- 
pel in Wyoming: The Anti-Gambling Act of 1901 as a Test Case." 
The Western Historical Quarterly XV (July 1984): 299-316. 

5 B. Richard Brown, Rockefeller Medicine Men: Medicine and 
Capitalism in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 
1979), 71-97. 

Spring 199? 

tin Number Four," or, "Flexner Report," so named for 
its author, Abraham Flexner, a brother of Dr. Simon 
Flexner, the director of the Rockefeller Institute for 
Medical Research. The report was a scathing account 
of the educational deficiencies prevailing in the 
country's medical schools, and recommended upgrad- 
ing the quality of medical education in the United 
States. 6 It advocated that only the allopathic or bio- 
chemically based branch of the medical profession be 
considered legitimate, and favored the banning of chi- 
ropractors, homeopaths and natropaths. 

With this end in mind, the American Medical Asso- 
ciation (AMA) began rating medical schools, and clas- 
sifying them according to stringent rules aimed at bar- 
ring graduates of "inferior" institutions from taking state 
medical licensure examinations. 7 Additionally, large 
sums of money provided by the Rockefeller General 
Education Board began flowing to those medical 
schools, particularly Johns Hopkins, whom Flexner had 
cited as a model for the future of medical education. 8 
There also followed a media campaign to expose quack- 
ery (defined as anyone in disagreement with the medi- 
cal profession's biochemical "scientific" school ) and 
to organize the pharmaceutical profession. 9 

Flexner' s plan also proposed prohibiting patent medi- 
cines as well as traditional herbal medical treatments. 
In short, what Flexner envisioned was a pharmacopoeia 
that only AMA approved fee-for-service physicians 
might access. 10 This push by the AMA led to intense 
lobbying of the state legislatures to enact medical li- 
censing laws where none had existed before, or to 
change those laws already on the books to favor the 
practitioners of "scientific" medicine." 

The AMA was also concerned in this period with 
what they called the "quality" of the medical students 
and physicians. Here the pseudo-sciences of Social Dar- 
winism and Biological Determinism so prevalent and 
widely publicized in European history, would play an 
important role. For example, in the 1920 keynote ad- 
dress to the AMA convention, the organization's presi- 
dent, Surgeon General W. C. Braisted, stressed Social 
Darwinism and Biological Determinism as all encom- 
passing approaches to life. In his talk, Braisted made 
references to the "physical integrity" of the American 
race as a necessity for "survival in its struggles with its 
rivals." 12 Citing the results of physical examinations 
made by the American military on its the World War I 
draftees, Braisted noted that scientific medicine had 
discovered that the "white" race was weakening due to 
its low birth rate and the physical defects of its males. 13 

Drawing on this evidence, Braisted went on to advo- 


Wyoming Physician- 

•Patient Ratios 













































cate an investigation into the background of medical 
school applicants to ascertain their fitness for medical 
education. This, he stated, was to keep diplomas from 
being awarded to "physical or moral runts." 14 He closed 
his address with a diatribe against medical students 
incapable of speaking "proper English." 15 This require- 
ment that impeccable English be a primary qualifica- 
tion for medical students, if implemented, would have 
excluded Americans not of the "privileged class" that 
the medical schools were now seeking to recruit.' 6 

To that end, medical schools also began to institut- 
ing quotas based on the ethnic backgrounds of their 
applicants during the 1920s. 17 This practice would be- 
come the central component of the effort to "upgrade" 
the practice of medicine in America, by limiting the 
"undesirable" element admitted to the profession. This 

6 Ibid., 143-188. 

1 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) J A (17 
April 1920). 

8 Brown, Rockefeller Medicine Men,\51; and Paul F. Starr, The 
Social Transformation of American Medicine (New York, 1982), 

9 Samuel Hopkins Adams, The Great American Fraud (New 
York: P. F. Collier & Sons, 1905, 1906); and Laramie Republi- 
can-Boomerang, 4 December 1923. 

10 "New and Unofficial Remedies," JAMA, 75 (3 July 1920). 
n "Current Comment," JAMA, 83 (16 August 1924), 532-534. 

12 "The Obligations of Medicine in Relation to General Educa- 
tion," JAMA, 74 (1 May 1920), 1205. 

13 Ibid., 1208. 

14 Ibid., 1213. 

15 Ibid., 1213. 

16 Henry Pratt Fairchild, The Melting-Pot Mistake (Boston: 
Little, Brown and Company, 1 926), 21-75; and Margaret Wetherell 
and Jonathan Potter, Mapping the Language of Racism: Discourse 
and the Legitimization of Exploitation (New York: Columbia Uni- 
versity Press, 1992), 18-31. 

17 Arthur Hertzberg, The Jews in America: Four Centuries of 
an Uneasy Encounter (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 


Annals oi Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

quota system had devastating effects on the children of 
Eastern and Southern European immigrants. These sec- 
ond generation Americans would suffer from discrimi- 
nation from within the medical profession. The Co- 
lumbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons 
was a case in point. In 1920, 40 percent of its graduates 
were of Jewish and Eastern European lineage. By 1922, 
the number decreased to 20 percent. 18 By 1930, except- 
ing a small percentage of Jews and Italians, the medi- 
cal schools had effectively barred the "undesirables." 19 

Again, it was not the immigrants themselves that these 
Protestant white Anglo-Saxon Americans were ulti- 
mately discriminating against, but their children, Ameri- 
can citizens all. Many of the applicants, particularly 
Jewish males, who were denied entry in the American 
schools, did not give up their dream of becoming phy- 
sicians. Instead, they went to Europe to study in Brit- 
ain, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany and Aus- 
tria. Again this practice was nothing new: before World 
War I study at assorted European medical faculties had 
been the cachet par excellence that separated the high 
priced prestigious Eastern seaboard medical special- 
ists from their ordinary American medical practitioner 
counterparts. 20 

The reform of American medical education and the 
emergence of Germany as an enemy during the First 
World War would serve as grist for the AMA propa- 
ganda mill's efforts to devalue foreign medical creden- 
tials, particularly those obtained at the German and 
Austrian faculties. 21 For the American victims of medi- 
cal school discrimination who had graduated from the 
foreign medical faculties, the result of this campaign 
would be a new obstacle. Once they returned to the 
United States, they would encounter massive barriers 
to licensure in their profession. Indeed, the competi- 
tive threat they posed to the established practitioners 
would become the central reason for the massive effort 
to exclude foreign trained physicians from practice in 
twenty-nine American states, Wyoming included. In 
the Equality State these restrictions would aggravate 
the loss of medical services in the small towns as a 
limited supply of newly trained physicians found 
greener pastures in America's growing cities. 22 

Wyoming was not as impacted by immigration as 
other states, but felt similar pressures. Around the state 
in places like Rock Springs and the other mining towns 
there were many enclaves of foreigners. 23 Other towns, 
such as Laramie with Union Pacific Railroad service 
facilities, also had sizable immigrant populations. In 
Laramie this led to the undertaking by the University 
of Wyoming of what came to be called Americaniza- 

tion classes, taught by Grace Raymond Hebard, then 
head of the Political Economy department since 1908. 

Grace Hebard was one of the most influential woman 
in Wyoming at the time. She held a degree in engi- 
neering and a doctorate in political economy. Detrac- 
tors accused her of having a Svengali-like hold over 
generations of University of Wyoming trustees, and an 
uncanny ability to force the exodus of a series of Uni- 
versity Presidents who managed to run afoul of her. 
Hebard "brought trouble but no distinction to life," 
wrote one critic. 24 

Nonetheless, she was head and founder of the Wyo- 
ming chapter of the Daughters of the American Revo- 
lution, and had many other influential connections in 
the state. 25 She also was close to many of the state's 
Republican leaders. Her opinions were sought after by 
the state and the national representatives of the people 
of Wyoming. Legislation was submitted to her for com- 
ment well before it was even considered by the Wyo- 
ming Senate or House. Indeed, she would complain 
bitterly if she were not informed well in advance of 
proposed legislation. 26 This included the legislation 
passed in the Eighteenth State Legislature requiring that 
candidates for medical licensure in Wyoming be Ameri- 
can citizens with credentials obtained by AMA ap- 
proved medical schools. 

Around Wyoming she had much to say in many fo- 
rums about the "racial characteristics" of recent immi- 
grants to the state. 27 She believed that the Nordic race 
was the bearer of the superior attributes needed by 
America, and that the people of the "Alpine" and "Medi- 
terranean" stock were much less desirable. 28 This be- 

18 ibid. 

19 Marcia Graham Synnott, "Anti-Semitism and American 
Universities," in David A. Gerber, ed., Anti-Semitism in Ameri- 
can History (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 233- 
271; and Dan A. Oren, Joining the Club: A History of Jews and 
Yale (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), 152. 

20 John S. Hailer, American Medicine in Transition, 1840-1910 
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981), 217. 

21 Kathleen M. Pearle, Preventative Medicine: The Refugee 
Physician and the New York Medical Commumty, 1933-1945 
(Bremen, 1981), 14. 

22 Starr, Social Transformation, 125. 

23 Cardozo, Nativism in Wyoming, 22. 

24 Roger L. Williams, Aven Nelson of Wyoming (Boulder: Colo- 
rado Associated University Press, 1984), 28 and 152-154. 

25 Grace Raymond Hebard papers, Box 37, file folders 1, 2. 
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. 

26 Albert William McCollough to Grace Hebard, 26 January 
1925; Hebard to McCollough, 27 February 1925. McCollough 
papers, Box 1, American Heritage Center, University of Wyo- 

27 Hebard papers, Box 37, Folder 2. 

Laramie Republican Boomerang, 18 May 1925. 

Spring 199? 

lief system was first outlined in William Z. Ripley's 
The Races of Europe. 29 According to Ripley the unde- 
sirables included Jews, Italians, Russians, Poles, and 
other Slavic nationalities. 

Hebard mirrored this attitude. In a talk given on the 
Nordic races, she cited many good characteristics of 
these Norsemen, and implied that the other peoples were 
"less compatible" with American ideals. She used 
Charles Lindbergh as the example of the desired "ra- 
cial blood." His combination of Swedish, English and 
Irish blood made his "courageous deeds" possible, in 
Dr. Hebard's view. 30 

Hebard instructed many classes in American gov- 
ernment especially designed for immigrants, but most 
of the immigrants she seemed to deal with were Cana- 
dian, Australian, English or German, all of the suppos- 
edly "better" races. Perhaps, as one researcher of Miss 
Hebard's life says, if she "[had] kn[own] more of 
them" 31 (the other nationalities) she would have 
changed her prejudicial bias. As it was, she actively 
supported the 1 924 Reed-Johnson Bill in the U.S. Con- 
gress to impose the most severe limits to date on fur- 
ther immigration. 32 

Reinforcing the prejudicial biases contained in that 
bill was the notion of "100 percent Americanism." The 
100 percent movement arose from a Nativist desire to 
preserve what the 1 00 percenters considered the Ameri- 
can founding fathers' "original" ideas and ideals. It 
meant more than being native born. It also meant be- 
ing a Caucasian Protestant. Catholics, Jews, and Ne- 
groes were not considered to be 100% Americans, no 
matter how long they had been living in the country. 33 
This movement fed on many fears. Expansion of the 
mining industry had brought Southern and Eastern Eu- 
ropeans to the state. These unassimilated immigrants 
spoke little or no English, and were frequently perceived 
as "different" from other Westerners. The recent im- 
migrants were also competitors for jobs sought by re- 
turning World War veterans. That rivalry led to culture 
conflicts in most of the places where large numbers of 
foreigners were working. It also fed the Ku Klux Klan's 
support for the 100 percent American movement. 34 

One historian describes the Klan of the 1920s as an 
"Invisible Empire." Its grasp extended well beyond the 
deep South into the West and small town America. It 
was very influential to the south of Wyoming, with 
much of Colorado politics being controlled by the Klan 
in the 1920s. 35 It has been estimated that there were up 
to a million or more members in the West at the time. 36 
It is nonetheless very difficult to track Klan activities 
in Wyoming, largely because it was not as organized 
as would be the case in neighboring Colorado and Utah. 


Wyoming did have representation at some national Klan 
gatherings. 37 Klanswomen felt secure enough to incor- 
porate their organization in Cheyenne in the 1920s. 38 

Obviously the Klan had an organization in Wyoming. 
Further, avowed Klansmen with Wyoming addresses 
wrote to Senator Frances E. Warren, a member of the 
committee that considered the Reed-Johnson Bill that 
proposed to limit immigration to two percent of the 
nationalities based on a 1890 census, or the 1910 cen- 
sus, the actual base subject to subsequent determina- 

The Klan favored the 1 890 census as a base from 
which to draw immigration quotas, largely because 
1890 predated wide scale immigration from Eastern 
and Southern Europe. The Klan made its feelings known 
to Warren who politely responded in a letter to Hiram 
Evans, Grand Kleagle of The Klan, that there was much 
"good food for thought" in the Klan's position on im- 
migration. 39 Whether Warren truly agreed with him or 
not is unknown. Many other people in Wyoming also 
wrote the senator in support of the 1890 date for limits 
on immigration. 40 

Most Wyoming people would become familiar with 
the Klan's opinion's through the newspaper coverage 
of the Klan's trials and tribulations in other states. 41 
Trials of Klan members for terrorism in Oklahoma and 
other localities were widely covered, with Wyoming 
newspapers allocating space to entire speeches by the 

29 William Z. Ripley, The Races of Europe: A Sociological 
Study (New York: 1899), quoted in Robert Singermarfs "The Jew 
as a Racial Alien, " in Gerber, Anti-Semitism, 106-107. 

30 Wyoming State Tribune and Cheyenne State Leader, 2 Sep- 
tember 1927. 

31 Frank Van Nuys, "My One Hobby: Grace Raymond Hebard 
and Americanization in Wyoming," Wyoming History Journal, 
(Autumn 1995): 3-15. 

32 Warren to Hebard, 1 1 April 1924. Frances E. Warren Papers, 
Letterbooks, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. 

33 David M. Chalmers, Hooded Americanism: The First Cen- 
tury of the Ku Klux Klan, 1865-1965 (New York: Doubleday & 
Company, 1965), 57. 

34 Julia Johnson, ed., The Ku Klux Klan, (New York: H. W. 
Wilson Co., 1923), 1 104-105. 

35 Robert Allan Goldberg, Hooded Empire: The Ku Klux Klan 
in Colorado (Chicago: Universityy of Illinois Press, 1981), 23- 
103; and Larry R. Gerlach, Blazing Cross in Zion: The Ku Klux 
Klan in Utah (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1982), 118- 

36 Goldberg, Klan in Colorado, 5. 

37 Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, 221. 

38 Cardozo, Nativism in Wyoming. 

39 Warren to Evans, 20 December 1923. Warren Letterbooks, 

40 Warren Letterbooks, AHC, letters 1924-25. 

41 Laramie Republican-Boomerang. 25 October 1923; 9 No- 
vember 1923; 7 November 1923. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Klan leaders. In one such article, Evans stated the Klan 
position on immigration. 

Our Cause is true Americanism. Our destiny is the com- 
mon welfare, materially and mentally, physically and spiri- 
tually; upon a plane high above any mankind has ever known 
the time has come to look far beyond... to this greater Ameri- 
can problem of our composite people. That is the bedrock of 
every national danger and hope. 

"The streams of population that have been and are pour- 
ing in upon us are ages old in racial character and capacity. 
We are the melting pot. Into it has been poured, almost pro- 
miscuously, perhaps in recent years designedly, every dross 
ingredient of citizenship the earth produces, the good and 
the bad. Monthly the immigrant stream is more and more 
inferior., it is undeniable that we have more than 35 million 
100% Americans. 42 

Evans went on in the article to describe Negroes as 
"savages." As for Jews they had "never emerg[ed] for 
a real intermingling with America." Catholics were 
undesirable because they were "illiterate" and owed 
allegiance to Rome. This list of "undesirable aliens" 
given in the article according to the Klan creed also 
included Greeks, Serbs, Rumanians and Bulgars. 43 

Klan doctrine was obviously close to Grace Raymond 
Hebard's notions of nationalities and of the 100 per- 
cent American viewpoint. This anti-foreigner bias car- 
ried over to the Wyoming legislature when it changed 
the state's medical licensure law in 1924. 

Paradoxically, there was no surplus of physicians, 
foreign or otherwise, in Wyoming or the nation, dur- 
ing the 1 920s. 44 Wyoming was one of nineteen states 
that had no medical school. Indeed, at the very time 
the Wyoming legislature was debating changes in medi- 
cal licensure mandating that all applicants for medical 
licenses be American citizens, it was also was consid- 
ering a requirement that the signatures of three doctors 
appear on the certificates of persons involuntarily com- 
mitted to the state asylum for the insane at Evanston. 45 

That second proposal raised objections from judges 
in various counties. They protested that their jurisdic- 
tions lacked even the three physicians the proposed law 
demanded. 46 Subsequently, the bill was then changed 
to permit the county coroner, one physician, and a dis- 
interested party sign commitment papers. 47 

If counties had problems finding three doctors to com- 
mit the insane, it seemed strange that Wyoming's medi- 
cal professionals favored laws limiting licensure. This 
was also the predicament in most of rural America, as 
many of the articles in the 1924-1925 AM A journals 
discussed. Too many physicians requiring regulation 
in places where there were few hardly constituted a 
rationale for a measure aimed at further limiting their 

A more potent rationale for the change in the 1 924 
Wyoming medical licensure law was the influence of 
powerful persons, including Hebard. They were seek- 
ing reciprocity between Wyoming and other states then 
enacting similar legislation, possibly on the theory that 
restrictive legislation combined with reciprocity might 
attract physicians to the state when and if their services 
were needed. 

This push for standardization of medical licensure 
laws had been instigated by the AMA and the 
Rockefeller Foundation in the earlier years, and was 
coming to fruition at this time. 48 It remains to be inves- 
tigated whether the Rockefeller Foundation had any 
influence in Wyoming on this matter. But there is evi- 
dence some doctors seemed to be well connected with 
the oil companies of the time. Dr. Edwin Earl Whedon, 
a Sheridan otolaryngologist, for example, was the sec- 
retary and head of the Medical Defense committee of 
the Medical Society of Wyoming, an affiliate of the 
AMA. Ironically, Whedon himself was a graduate of 
one of the class "B" medical schools that the Flexner 
Report had eventually put out of business. More im- 
portantly, by the 1920s, he was heavily involved with 
then Rockefeller owned Standard Oil Company (until 
the Teapot Dome scandal). He was also immersed in 
many other oil related ventures until the 1 950s. 49 These 
kind of connections allow for some speculation that 
more than the parochial interests of the state's medical 
practitioners went into the revision of the 1 924 Wyo- 
ming medical licensure law. 

The new statutes also allowed for the "grandfathering" 
of the nontraditional practitioners of the healing arts, 
such as chiropractors and homeopaths. This inclusive 
position had been adopted by the AMA as a necessary 
political compromise along the path of imposing stricter 
standards on medical schools and encouraging increas- 
ingly rigid licensure laws. 50 In Wyoming, the state 

42 Hiram Evans, "Ku Klux Klan: Ideas About Admitting the 
Foreigners," Laramie Republican-Boomerang, 24 October 1923. 

43 Ibid. 

44 William Allan Pusey, "Medical Education," JAMA, 84 (24 
January 1925); JAMA, 84 (14 February 1925). 

45 Spaulding to McCollough, 4 February 1925, McCollough 
papers, AHC. 

46 Ibid 

47 Hamilton, head of the Wyoming Medical Society, to 
McCollough, 1 February 1925. McCollough Collection, AHC. 

48 Jeffery Lionel Berlant, Profession and Monopoly: A Study of 
Medicine in the United States and Great Britain (Berkeley: Uni- 
versity of California Press, 1975), 237-240. 

49 Earl Whedon papers, AHC. Almost all of the boxes in the 
collection contain papers dealing with oil company leases and 

50 Brown, Rockefeller Medicine Men, 139-141. 




medical society lobbied the legislature to obtain pas- 
sage of an amendment to the medical licensure statute. 
It required that all practitioners applying for licensure 
in the state be American citizens. Six months later the 
State Board of Medical Examiners added a qualifier to 
the law: that all persons seeking licensure in the heal- 
ing arts be graduates of class "A" medical schools. 51 In 
that way the sectarian health care providers such as the 
chiropractors and homeopaths already in the state could 
be licensed. That action provided the economic incen- 
tive to squelch whatever opposition might have arisen 
to the new law from the sectarians already in the state. 
They were safe. Only the door to potential competitors 
had been slammed shut. 

It was the State Medical Board's requirement that 
applicants for medical licensure be graduates of class 
"A" American medical schools that would prevent the 
children of immigrants, who had been virtually ex- 
cluded from U.S. medical schools and been educated 
abroad, from the practice of medicine in the Equality 
State. Their degrees would not be accepted in Wyo- 
ming or many other states because of these statutes. 
By a ruling of the Board, an edict that neither the leg- 
islature nor the courts ever reviewed, foreign medical 
degrees would not be accepted in Wyoming or thirty- 
three other states. 

With these measures, Wyoming's medical establish- 
ment prevented foreign trained physicians from becom- 
ing doctors in the state. Where other states, notably 
Virginia, South Dakota and Colorado would take ad- 
vantage of an influx of foreign trained physicians, most 
of them Jews fleeing Nazi racial persecution, during 

the 1930s to expand medical services to underserved 
areas. Wyoming did not. The result would be contin- 
ued medical underservice in the state's smaller towns 
that would, for all practical purposes endure to this 
day. 52 

51 JAMA, 85 (18 July 1925). 

52 Eric D. Kohler, "Relicensing Central European Refugee Phy- 
sicians in the United States, 1933-1945," Simon Wiesenthal Cen- 
ter Annual, 6(1989), 18-19. 

Susan Macki, a native of Boston, has lived in Wyo- 
ming for 25 years, much of that time in Cody. A 
graduate of Northwest College, Powell, and the 
University of Wyoming, she is currently a gradu- 
ate student in history at the University of Wyo- 
ming where she is studying the history of Modern 
Europe. She has been a Distinguished Merit 
Scholar, a fellow at the Center for the Study of the 
Presidency, a Griffin scholar, and a McNair 
scholar, assistance from which funded her research 
for this article. 

Eric D. Kohler is associate professor of history, 
University of Wyoming. A graduate of Brown Uni- 
versity (1965), he received his M.A. (1967) and 
Ph.D. (1971) degrees from Stanford University. 
He has been on the faculty of the UW Department 
of History since 1971. 

ight to Save a Memory: 

on of the Pryor MSSftitain Wild ^ - — . 






By Patricia Mabee Fazio 


When Velma B. Johnston (aka "Wild Horse Annie") 
began the movement to protect wild horses from 
mustanging practices on state and federal lands in the 1950s, 
she was driven by humaneness and morality. She wanted to 
prevent the brutality of capture she had observed in her own 
ranching community in Nevada. Through her efforts, Con- 
gress passed the "Wild Horse Annie Act" in 1 959, prohibit- 
ing the use of aircraft and motorized vehicles in the gather- 
ing of wild horses on federal lands. In 1971, she and other 
wild horse advocates succeeded in pushing through more en- 
compassing federal legislation — the Wild Free-Roaming 
Horses and Burros Act — giving full legal protection to the 
animals themselves on federal lands of the Bureau of Land 
Management and the U.S. Forest Service. 

In the years between these acts, two significant wild horse 
refuges were created — one within Nellis Air Force Base in 
Nevada (1966), and the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range 
in the Big Horn/Pryor Mountain region of Wyoming-Mon- 
tana (1968). Both federal wild horse ranges played a major 
role in molding wild horse policy on the public lands, and 
their establishment quickly paved the way for enhanced pro- 
tection of wild horses through the Wild Free-Roaming Horses 

and Burros Act in 1971. However, this 1971 statute, which 
stopped mustanging altogether, was to spawn a far different 
kind of wild horse protection movement in the United States, 
rooted more in the ideology of John Muir's aesthetic conser- 
vation than in the less complex, more politically digestible 
issue of animal welfare. Gradually, as wild horse numbers 
increased on public lands, due to their protection, the aes- 
thetic conservation philosophy began to clash with utilitar- 
ian considerations, that is, use of the public domain by live- 
stock grazing permittees. 

Many animal welfarists view wild horses as a form of wild- 
life or living symbols of America's pioneer heritage. Run- 
ning free on the open ranges of the West, they are seen by 
this faction as an aesthetic and historical resource, worthy of 
protection and deserving of their own place under the sun. 
However, many ranchers consider wild horses a scourge on 
the landscape, to be controlled or eliminated — nothing more 
than a domestic livestock species gone feral. They resent 
the intrusion of the federal government in wild horse matters 
that were once left to the ranching community and local public 
land agency range managers. The aesthetic "wild horse lov- 
ers" are viewed as misinformed, unrealistic, and out of touch 

Spring 1997 

with the pragmatic problems of ranching — elitists, who have 
the economic advantages of urban life and none of the li- 
abilities of an agricultural operation. Ranchers often de- 
scribe wild horses as "jug-headed broomtails," possessing 
ugly and deformed features resulting from inbreeding. How- 
ever, when an old rancher is scratched, one might find be- 
neath his toughened hide a heart that beats faster at the sight 
of wild horses galloping over the prairie, with tails and manes 
streaming. The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act 
offended the free-spirit and rugged individualism of the West- 
ern man and woman, with a constraint these descendants of 
pioneers have had to adjust to over the past 26 years. Thus, 
an ambiguous love-hate attitude may exist for the wild horse 
in ranching circles, unrelated to the animals themselves; fos- 
tered by big-government intrusion; and fed by the cries of 
wild horse advocates — Americans who no longer have to 
live off the land and wish, from afar, to preserve the wild 
beauty of the American West. 

The Pryor Mountain wild horse controversy stemmed from 
attempts by one federal land agency — the Bureau of Land 
Management — to enforce a seminal piece of range man- 
agement legislation, the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934. Graz- 
ing allotments, under these regulations, were established 
within which grazing permits were issued to ranchers for the 
maximum number and type of livestock allowed. In 1934, 
the Pryor Mountain wild horse herd was relatively small, 
consisting of about 20 head. While the Tillett ranch family 
had received a grazing permit to cover this number, as time 
progressed, the herd grew to about 200 in the 1960s. Since 
the Tilletts' permit did not allow this many horses, the U.S. 
Grazing Service (merged with the General Land Office to 
create the BLM in 1946) issued various permit violation no- 
tices. The Tilletts either ignored these warnings or promised 
to capture the offending horses with no intention of doing so. 
Finally, in 1966, the situation came to a head, and the fight 
to retain most, if not all, of the Pryor Mountain wild horses 
became public, when the BLM threatened removal — and 
meant it. 

A number of exotic and romantic theories have evolved 
about the origin of the first horses that formed the foun- 
dation stock for the Pryor Mountain wild horse herd. Norma 
Bearcroft of the Canadian Wild Horse Society claimed that 
horses were roaming on the south slopes of the Pryor Moun- 
tains as early as 1710.' 

Some say they came later, perhaps from the Lewis and 
Clark Expedition, when, in 1 807, a member of the team of 
explorers, Sergeant Nathaniel Pryor, was detached to lead 
horses through the Pryor Mountains and lost them to Crow 
Indians during night encampment. 2 Curiously, Lewis and 
Clark did not make a single reference, in any of their expedi- 
tion journals, to seeing wild horses. 3 

Local legend has it that the Pryor Mountain horses were 
remnants of escaped Crow Indian stock that came into the 
south Pryor Mountains from the Crow Reservation, located 
on the north and east sides of the Big Horn Mountains. 4 The 
Crows, who were conjectured to have acquired more horses 


than any other northern tribe (4,000, as early as 1 874), tell of 
wild horses in the region before the coming of white set- 
tlers. 5 

Accounts of the Crow Indians, validated by the Smithsonian 
Institution, show that the Crows — as late as the 1 880s — 
camped on the west side of Crooked Creek and near the junc- 
tion of the Shoshone and Big Horn rivers. In these accounts, 
the Crows often left these camps, traveling northward across 
the Yellowstone, Musselshell, and the Missouri rivers, to steal 
small numbers of horses from the Piegan Indians. 6 

The Hamilton party, consisting of 25 trappers, camped in 
the Pryor Mountains during the winter of 1 848- 1 849. They 
recorded elk, bear, deer, antelope, buffalo, and bighorn sheep. 
During the course of this winter, they encountered "Indian 
problems and following their fight with a small party, they 
circled to the north and east of the Pryor assure 
themselves that no other Indians were close by." They found 
horse trails in the snow and followed them out. However, 
these trails proved to be made by the Indian parties that had 
attacked the trappers. No other horse trails were encoun- 
tered, according to Hamilton Party records, leading some to 
conclude that "...there were no [wild] horses on the Pryor 
Mountains in 1848-1849." 7 

Speculation also exists that a portion of the original wild 
horses in the Pryors were escapees from the "Battle of the 
Little Big Horn," fought just a few miles from the Pryor 
Mountains in 1874. 8 

Chief Joseph may have provided the original seed stock 
for the Pryor Mountain herd. In August 1877, leader of the 
Nez Perce and his men marched out of Yellowstone with 
1,300 horses, only to lose 900 head in the Battle of Canyon 
Creek near Laurel, Montana. Because this incident occurred 
just 90 miles north of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, 
surviving horses might well have found their way to the Big 
Horn Basin. 9 Nez Perce horses would have been of Spanish 

1 D. Dean Bibles, Montana State BLM Director, to BLM District Manager, 
Billings, "Origin of Pryor Mtn. Horses" (typewritten memo), 6 May 1968. 

2 David Harvey, A General Historical Survey of the Pryor Mountains 
(Billings, Montana: Bureau of Land Management, 1974), 3. 

1 Bibles, "Origin of Pryor Mtn. Horses." 

4 Dick Thomas, "Range Feud Swirling Over Wild Horse Herd," The Den- 
ver Post, 3 April 1966, 1. 

5 Harvey, A General Historical Survey of the Pryor Mountains, 12. 

" D. Dean Bibles concluded: "It would seem doubtful that if wild horses 
were in the area east of Crooked Creek that these Indians would walk to 
northern Montana to steal a few head from the Piegans. There are also main 
accounts where they traveled from the mouth of the Shoshone River which 
joins this horse area eastward for many miles to steal horses from the Sioux 
Indians. Bibles, "Origin of Pryor Mtn. Horses." 

'Ibid., 161. 

8 Hope Ryden wrote: "Though history books credit a horse by the name 
of Comanche as being the sole [Army] survivor of that historic battle, the fact 
remains that three whole days and nights passed before scouts reached the 
site of the Massacre and found the wounded animal. Am horse able to travel 
would surely have tied the scene of action during the intervening time." Ryden, 
America 's Last Wild Horses, 239. 

"Interview with Billy Mclllvaine, BLM Billings Resource Area, Billings, 
Montana, 25 October 1944. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Whatever the true origin of the Pryor Mountain wild horses 
actually was, when Bessie Tillett came West in 1894 with 
her father — a railroad contractor — and settled in the Big 
Horn Basin, near (what is now) Lovell, Wyoming, the Pryor 
Mountain herd was already established. 10 

Bessie Frances Strong grew up in the Big Horn Basin, mar- 
ried William E. "Bill" Tillett in 1913, and produced three 
sons — Royce, born 1918; Lloyd, 1920; and Rob Roy, 1931. 
The Tillett Ranch was in steep, rocky, arid country along the 
southeast flank of the Pryor Mountains — 9,000 acres of 
private land, supplemented with federal lands along Crooked 
Creek. Arapooish, a Crow Indian chief, in describing the 
area to an early fur trapper, said "[This] country is exactly in 
the right place. It has snowy mountains and sunny plains; all 
kinds of climates, and good things for every season..." 11 

Historically, the Pryor Mountain wild horses had freely 
roamed approximately 100,000 acres in this land of silence 
and eye-soothing vistas — from its cool, timbered highlands, 
down through rocky plateaus, to scrub desert at the lower 
elevations. Deep, steep-walled canyons cut by the Big Horn 
River and other geological events characterize the landscape, 
as does the salmon-colored Chugwater Formation, depos- 
ited by ancient seas, contributing to striking, salmon-hued 
hills and red soils in the region. 

A portion of Pryor Mountain wild horse country became 
the Tillett Ranch. The Tilletts looked upon these roaming 
horse bands as "...a form of wildlife," 12 and held no claim to 
ownership, although individual horses were sometimes cap- 
tured for ranch use. "Occasionally we catch and break one 
of them," said Bessie Tillett. "They make the very best cow 
ponies. They're not so big, but they're really strong, and 
their hooves are tough as nails." 13 

To this family, the Pryor herd was a part of the natural 
rangeland and forest ecosystem, and belonged to no man. 
They were there not only before five-year-old Bessie Strong 
and her father, Frank, arrived in the Big Horn Basin in 1894, 
they were on the scene long before the Taylor Grazing Act 
took effect on June 28, 1934. 14 Yet, General Land Office, 
U.S. Grazing Service and (beginning in 1 946) Bureau of Land 
Management officials would attempt to reduce and, finally, 
to remove the Pryor Mountain wild horses for grazing per- 
mit violations. 

It all began on June 6, 1936 when Bill Tillett wrote to the 
General Land Office in Billings, asking the District Land 
Office to adjust his grazing permit (and fee) to cover 20 horses. 

Owing to fact that this range was very short of forage for 
this year, and to the fact that I did not wish to starve my cattle 
this spring after feeding them all winter I was advised by R. 
E. Morgan, Dist. Grazier, to apply for a non-use permit for 
cattle on this range this year which I did. However I did 
apply for 20 horses. Please adjust the fee to cover the 20 horses 
and not the cattle. 15 

Not only did the Taylor Grazing Act limit the number and 
type of animals that ranchers could graze on their assigned 
allotments, it sometimes turned neighbor against neighbor 
and, even, family members against their own. In 1938, a 

protest was raised from three Tillett rancher-neighbors and 
relatives — Ellen F. Strong, Edna Anderson, and Jess Sullivan 
— that the Tillett's East Crooked Creek allotment be "set 
aside and.. .used in common." 16 

Bill Tillett retorted that his protesting neighbors had been 
allotted "...ample range, west of Crooked Creek, to satisfy 
their commensurability." Tillett added that he had not been 
furnished enough range to satisfy his own commensurabil- 
ity, but that he had been willing to accept the East Crooked 
Creek allotment, if given an individual allotment. Further, to 
allot this range "in common," he said, "would destroy its 
efficiency ...If this range is allotted 'in common' you can 
readily see that nobody would receive any benefits and we 
would go back to conditions that existed in the past and which 
we are trying to avoid at present, an overgrazed range.' 17 
Trespass violations were to fall, repeatedly — for more than 
25 years — on the TX Ranch for grazing in excess of the 20 
permitted horses on their East Crooked Creek allotment. 

As population numbers within the Pryor Mountain wild 
horse herd increased, the Tilletts found more bands occupy- 
ing their lands. In an April 29, 1940 letter to R. E. Morgan, 
Regional Grazier for the U.S. Grazing Service, Bill Tillett 

If you should have any intention of allowing Mrs. Ander- 
son a permit for horses on her range, it is absolutely neces- 
sary that you see to it, that the lane we spoke of, is not left 
open as a passage way for her horses onto our range. I want to 
further call your attention to the fact, that there is a consider- 
able number of horses on our range, in tresspass [sic], at the 
present time. In about a month from now, these horses-will 
be coming into water and can, and should be taken care of at 
that time. 18 

10 Years later, she said: "Harry Williams, who lived on the [Big Horn] 
river below Lovell, was running horses up Crooked Creek at the time. I 
guess you would call him a rancher. We called him horse crazy. In those 
days you did anything you could to get along, ...Harry trapped horses." Tho- 
mas, "Range Feud Swirling Over Wild Horse Herd," 1 8. 

" Big Horn Canyon -Pryor Mountain Area, Map, U.S.G.P.O.: 1974-781- 

12 Ibid. 

13 Dick Thomas, "Matter of Grass - 'Wild' Horses Decision Due," The 
Denver Post, n.d. 

14 Ibid. 

15 W. E. Tillett to District Land Office, General Land Office, Billings, 
Montana, 6 June 1936. National Archives: Wild Horse Historical Files, 1969- 
79. Accession No. W049-82-0020. Records Center Location #03-9 1-00-4- 
4. Division of Wild Horses and Burros (250), M-3 (Permanent). (Hereafter, 
this collection will be abbreviated "National Archives-WHHF.") 

16 Their reasons were: 1) The Tilletts had more range than they were 
entitled to, and the allotment in question was not used other than as a pas- 
sageway for driving livestock to the Forest Reserve (now, Custer National 
Forest); 2) They wanted range on the east side of Crooked Creek for holding 
cows and two-year-old heifers that were "heavy with calf until after calving; 
and; 3) Water sources would be more accessible, and direct driving routes 
for cattle available, if the allotment was used "in common." Regional Grazier 
Morgan, n.d., 1-4. National Archives-WHHF. 

17 Ibid., p. 5. As no further correspondence was found relating to the chal- 
lenge for Tillett's East Crooked Creek allotment, it is to be assumed from the 
context of other letters that the matter was dropped. 

18 W. E. Tillett to R. E. Morgan, 29 April 1 940. National Archives-WHHF. 

Spring 1997 

Two months later, Tillett again wrote the Grazing Ser- 
vice, asking if they intended to remove the horses that "...have 
been running in tresspass [sic] for the past four years on our 
allotment east of Crooked Creek." 19 In September of the 
same year, he requested the Grazing Service to install a gate 
in a lane that kept the trespass horses on the "west side," and 
off his allotment. 20 The gate in question was eventually in- 
stalled; however, there is no mention of horses being gath- 
ered by the Grazing Service. 

In January 1944, Bill Tillett asked for a six-month grazing 
permit — from March 1 to August 3 1, 1944 — for 20 head 
of horses. 21 He complained in June to George H. Snell, Dis- 
trict Grazier, that Mrs. Anderson has been leaving the gate 
open in the lane at the lower end of her place "...and letting 
Sullivan & Mrs. Strong horses thro [sic] on our range. ...If 
you have any method of stopping this kind of business that is 
fine, however if you do not I wish you would write me tell- 
ing me so." 22 

When the Advisory Board for the Billings Grazing Dis- 
trict (Montana #4) met in 1 946, members agreed unanimously 


to allocate funds to "Hire riders to gather [Tillett Ranch] 
trespass horses." 23 However, apparently, only a small por- 
tion of the horses were removed, and the Tilletts were, again 
— in later years — repeatedly reprimanded for grazing per- 
mit violations. The minutes of a 1950 meeting of the "Ad- 
visory Board of Bridger Grazing District Number Four-Mon- 
tana," read: 

Discussed the horse problem in the Crooked Creek and 
Gyp Spring area. It was moved by Jess Sullivan and sec- 
onded by Claud G. St. John that all the area in Montana 4 
west of Crooked Creek to Sage Creek and south of the Forest 

19 W.E. Tillett to Paul H.Crouter, 7 June 1940. National Archives- WHHF. 

20 W. E. Tillett to Crouter, 4 September 1940. National Archives- WHHF. 

21 W. E. Tillett to Geo. H. Snell, 1 1 January 1944. National Archives- 

22 W. E. Tillett to Geo. H. Snell, 9 June 1944. National Archives- WHHF. 

23 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Billings Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 20 February 1946, 3. National Archives- WHHF. 

24 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Bridger Grazing District Number 
Four-Montana, 15 February 1950, Section VI, 2, 3. National Archives- WHHF. 


R27E. R28E 

4 - LOCATION MAP - s/ss 


BLM Maps 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

boundary be closed to all horse grazing for the 1950 grazing 
season and horse licenses or permits be suspended for this 
period in order to make it easier to get at unlicensed horses. 
Motion carried. 24 

In an Advisory Board meeting in March, 1950, the "poor 
condition of the range in the area due to horse use..." was 
discussed, and allotments closed to all horse use were speci- 
fied "...until such time as the horse problem could be solved." 
The Tillett Ranch Crooked Creek allotment was one of them. 
However, the closed lands consisted of a large area between 
the boundary line of the Custer National Forest on Pryor 
Mountain, Crow Indian Reservation south to the Wyoming- 
Montana state line, east from Range line between Ranges 25 
and 26 East, to the Big Horn River. 25 The Pryor Mountain 
wild horses were on a collision course with federal land man- 
agers. Yet, it would take still more years for the simmering 
to reach a boil. 

The Advisory Board, in a meeting in February, 1952, 
again brought up the "problem of trespass horses." It ap- 
peared that more serious action was being considered: "It 
was finally proposed that the Range Manager obtain all in- 
formation available on Montana State Laws relative to the 
round up and disposal of wild and trespass horses and deter- 
mine a method by which these horses might be removed." 26 

In May of the same year, the Bureau of Land Management 
became more aggressive in gathering trespass horses. Own- 
ers were notified by letter, while their animals were held in 
corrals for sale or repossession. Bessie Tillett (now a widow) 
received such notice: 

Among the horses gathered were 3 of your horses branded 
TX on the right hip. ...These horses were placed in the C.A. 
Lewis corral north and west of of the Bear Canyon Well. Please 
arrange to either sell these horses or take them on your ranch. 
If these horses are turned lose on the Federal Range you will 
be held in trespass and fined accordingly. 27 

Bessie Tillett expressed "...considerable concern over the 
horse problem in the Gyp Springs and Crooked Creek Allot- 
ments" in a February 2, 1955, Advisory Board meeting 28 
Nearly a year later, on January 16, 1956, the Board asked 
Mrs. Tillett to appear at the next meeting to "...explain the 
use made by her horses in the Crooked Creek and Dryhead 
allotments." 29 Bessie appeared at the next monthly meet- 
ing, accompanied by two of her sons, Lloyd and Royce. Af- 
ter a lengthy discussion, the Tillett Ranch application was 
amended to allow 40 horses in the Crooked Creek Allotment 
from March 1 to December 31 (10 months) of each year. 30 It 
appeared that this expansion for Tillett horse use would, fi- 
nally, solve the problem of horse trespass; however, it would 
prove to be quite temporary. 

On January 1 0, 1 958, the district manager presented to the 
Advisory Board the "Abandoned Horse problem... . The 
Board was of the opinion that there were probably 1 25 un- 
branded horses on the south end of the Pryor Mountain which 
run off and on National Forest and Federal Range lands in 
the area." 11 When asked to evaluate the value of these "wild 

horses" as remnants of the "old mustang breed," the District 
Range Manager replied: 

...I know of none of the old mustang breed in either state 
[Montana and Wyoming] that are still running loose. 
The.. .Indians [rode] nothing but stallions and [turned] poorer 
horses back with the mares.. .[and] the white people [took] 
only the best horses and [left] the scrubs. would seem that 
what few horses are still running have no similarity to the 
description of observers around 1 800 who described these 
horses as 'about 800 pounds in weight with very strong legs, 
deep chests, and alert, intelligent faces.' Considering this 
past practice and information from horse runners themselves 
there is very little likelihood of finding the wild horse previ- 
ously held in such high esteem. 32 

He offered his skills and knowledge in gathering horses 
from District 4, calling them "abandoned horses" of no value 
to any horseman, "...since they are often culls or undersized 
and ill formed animals." Further, he explained that nearly 
all the old mustangs that were left around the country were 
gathered during both World Wars for shipment to Europe 
for food. "I do not believe that the horses the Wild Horse 
Refuge advocates have in mind exist in this country any 
longer. The nearest they might come to it is the Criollo horse 
of Argentina." 33 

As early as 1958, the idea of "Wild Horse Refuges" had 
already been conceived by wild horse protectionists. Yet, it 
would take another ten years for the Pryor Mountain Wild 
Horse Range to become a reality. In 1959, the "Wild Horse 
Annie" bill would work its way through Congress and be- 
come law. 

Toward the middle of June 1959, Bessie Tillett received 
correspondence from the Bridger District Office, lauding her 
removal of "...a number of unlicensed horses in the Crooked 
Creek area." She was reminded that the Tilletts were autho- 
rized to run 40 horses on Federal range, and "Any horses in 
excess of this number would be considered as trespass 
horses." 34 Yet, it appears that the issue lay dormant for sev- 
eral years, before the "loose horse" situation, and question 
of ownership, resurfaced. 

Meanwhile, in 1962, the idea of a wild horse refuge on 

25 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Bridger Grazing District-Montana 
4, 2 March 1950, 3. National Archives- WHHF. 

26 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Bridger Grazing District-Montana 
4, 8 January 1952, Section V. National Archives- WHHF. 

27 John R. Killough to Mrs. [Bessie] Tillett, 5 May 1952. National Ar- 

28 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Bridger Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 2 February 1955, Section V, 3. National Archives- WHHF. 

29 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Bridger Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 16 January 1956, Section V, 6. National Archives-WHHF. 

30 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Bridger Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 14 February 1956, Section IX, 3, National Archives-WHHF. 

31 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Bridger Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 10 January 1958, Section XIV., n.p. National Archives-WHHF. 

32 District Range Manager, M-5 to State Supervisor, 17 January 1958. 
National Archives-WHHF. 

33 Ibid. 

34 Wayne W. Wilde to Mrs. Bessie F. Tillett, 12 June 1959. National Ar- 

Spring 199? 

public land had come to fruition at Nellis Air Force Base in 
southern Nevada, northwest of Las Vegas. This was the first 
and (then) only federal area set aside for wild horses. The 
publicly-owned refuge was established for management and 
protection of wild horses " answer to pleas from thou- 
sands of admirers of the free-ranging animals, some of whom 
are thought to be remote descendents of the early Spanish 
mustangs." 35 The concept of a wild horse refuge may well 
have been planted in the minds of Tillett family members, 
still burdened with the "abandoned horse" dilemma. 

In January 1964, the Advisory Board recommended that 
action on all grazing permit applications be suspended for 
all users of the Gyp Springs and Crooked Creek Allotments. 
Bessie Tillett, Lloyd Tillett, Rob Roy Tillett, Royce Tillett, 
and several of their neighbors were "advised to appear" be- 
fore the Board at the next meeting to discuss "the horse prob- 
lem." 36 Bessie and Royce Tillett represented the Tillett Ranch 
on February 26, 1964, at that meeting, where nobody present 
claimed ownership of the unbranded horses in question. It 
was agreed that an effort would be made to reduce the num- 
ber of horses. Board members were told that "Several ob- 
stacles seem to stand in the way, however. Approval is needed 
from the stock inspector to run them out through Wyoming, 
and [the] inaccessability of getting to the horses." 37 

In a December 3, 1964, meeting, the Board once again 
prohibited horse use in the exact area closed to horses on 
March 2, 1950, that is, between the boundary lines of the 
Custer National Forest on the Pryor Mountain, Crow Indian 
Reservation boundary south to the Montana- Wyoming state 
line, east from the Range line between Ranges 25 and 26 
East, to the Big Horn River. While the area described was 
licensed for 20 head of horses (at that time), for 10 months of 
the year, the estimated number of horses actually using that 
tract was between 150 and 300 head, year round. 38 At the 
same meeting, Tillett horse use was reduced from 20 to five 
head, as were stocking rates for Tillett Ranch cattle. On 
January 1 2, 1 965, Royce Tillett appeared at the Billings Graz- 
ing District Office to protest this action, but the next day, the 
Advisory Board denied his request for an increase in use. 39 
The real battle between the Tilletts and the Bureau of Land 
Management had finally begun, with the BLM self-assured 
of its own power and right as a regulatory federal land agency. 

A few days after March 8, 1965, Bessie Tillett received 
Certified Mail from the BLM District Office in Worland, 
Wyoming stating that an investigation of her Crooked Creek 
Allotment had been made on March 3 and 4, revealing a 
number of livestock on the federal range. The investigators 
had found her gates open between private land and the fed- 
eral range, making it possible for a large number of cattle to 
use this allotment. "You will note that your current license 
expired December 31, 1964, and your 1965 license does not 
begin until May 1, 1965," wrote Rex D. Colton, District 
Manager. 40 

Colton gave the Tilletts "...two days from receipt of this 
letter to remove all livestock from the Federal range. Any 
use made after this time will be considered in trespass and of 


a clearly willful nature." Further — and in still stronger 
language — he said that his letter should be considered a 
"warning," and that no future warnings would be made. He 
assured Bessie that continued investigations of her allotment 
would be made, and " the event livestock belonging to 
you are found, trespass action will be initiated immediately." 41 

About the same time, A. Duane Sonnenburg, a range con- 
servationist with the BLM, filed a report titled "Horse gath- 
ering in the Gyp Springs, Crooked Creek, and Big Horn Can- 
yon area." He wrote that "Mr. Tillett," in a conversation 
with "A Mr. Clifford Spidel and another gentleman from 
Hysham, Montana," had told them that "...the horses run- 
ning loose in the area belonged to him." The two men had 
made trips into the area on horseback and by vehicle and had 
encountered a large number of horses — in excess of 100. 
They had discussed with "Mr. Tillett" the possibility of gath- 
ering "said wild, branded and unbranded horses. Mr. Tillett 
gave some verbal indications that he would like to have the 
horses gathered." They then discussed some potential ar- 
rangements, but none became final at that time. 42 

Spidel and his friend asked Sonnenburg about the "legal 
implications" of gathering unbranded and branded horses in 
Montana." The range conservationist replied: 

...if Mr. Tillett agreed to claim all said horses in the area and 
if they were interested in gathering said horses that they could 

35 A Department of Interior press release of December 27, 1962 headlines 
"Interior Sets Up 435,000-Acre Haven For Wild Horses." Lee - Interior 3609, 
"Interior Sets Up..." (press release), Office of the Secretary, U.S. Dept. of the 
Interior, Washington, D.C., 27 December 1962, 1. Secretary of the Interior 
Stewart L. Udall said: "Preserving a typical herd of feral horses in one of the 
Nation's most isolated areas may prove difficult, but we will make the effort 
to assure those of us who admire the wild horse that there will always be some 
of these animals. ...To many people, the wild horse is a symbol of an inspiring 
era in the West. ...While the rugged public lands in this Nevada region — one 
of the largest roadless areas in the West — may support only a few hundred 
wild horses, status as a permanent refuge is the first step to assure that at least 
one wild herd will be preserved." 

36 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Billings Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 30 January 1964. National Archives- WHHF. 

37 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Billings Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 26 February 1964, Section XVII. National Archives-WHHF. 

38 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Billings Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 3 December 1964, Section IX., 2. National Archives-WHHF. 

39 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Billings Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 13 January 1965, Section V., 3, 4. National Archives-WHHF. 

40 Rex D. Colton to Mrs. Bessie P. [sic] Tillett, 8 March 1965, National 
Archives-WHHF. He also reminded her of the Federal Range Code for Graz- 
ing Districts, 43 CFR, section 41 12.3-1: "The following acts are prohibited 
on the Federal range, (b) Grazing livestock upon or driving livestock across 
the Federal range, including stock driveway, in violation of the terms of a 
license or a permit, either by exceeding the number of livestock permitted, or 
by allowing livestock to be on the Federal range in an area or at a time differ- 
ent from that designated, or in any other nature. Section 9239.3-2 further 
states: A grazing license or permit may be suspended, reduced, or revoked, or 
removal thereof denied for a clearly established violation of the terms or con- 
ditions of the license or permit, or for a violation of the act or of any of the 
provisions of this part, or of any approved special rule." 

41 Ibid. 

42 A. Duane Sonnenburg, "Horse Gathering in the Gyp Springs, Crooked 
Creek, and Big Horn Canyon Areas" (typewritten), Billings Grazing District, 
Bureau of Land Management, 9 March 1965, 1. National Archives-WHHF. 

43 Ibid 


Annals oi Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Wild horses are flesh and blood to some; romantic and historical symbols to others. This stallion and two fillies from the 
Pryor Mountain herd (c. 1968) have characteristics typical of more primitive horses. Photo courtesy of Hope Ryden. 

provided they abided by the State of Montana and Wyoming 
as well as Federal laws regarding such collecting, gathering, 
and/or assembling of said animals. I also told them that they 
would have to contact Montana and Wyoming State Brand 
Inspectors and comply with their rules and regulations. 43 

Spidel indicated that they were planning to build traps or 
collection areas around springs or frequented watering areas 
and then subject the horses to a tranquilizer. They then 
planned to transport the horses out of the collecting areas 
into Montana. He requested a meeting with the BLM Dis- 
trict Manager to discuss the subject further. 44 

Sonnenburg wrote in his report: "This seems to afford a 
solution to a troublesome and perennial problem. The horses 
are definitely in trespass as they are on the Forest and Bu- 
reau of Land Management administered lands year round. 45 
He noted that from past Advisory Board minutes, the Tilletts 
had never claimed these horses, until now, but he saw this as 
"...perhaps a solution to this problem" at last. 46 

Toward the end of March 1965, Bessie Tillett stopped at 
the BLM District Manager's Office in Billings to pay graz- 
ing fees for all the Tilletts. She said Andy Gifford from Lovell, 
was going to help gather trespass horses in their area and that 
some were already in the corrals. She was asked to furnish 
the District Office with copies of bills of sale for the horses, 
to establish a record of numbers removed. 47 

Two months later, however, in late May, the Billings Dis- 

trict Office wrote the Tilletts regarding the still-pending, pro- 
posed gathering of horses by Clifford Spidel. The BLM had 
informed Spidel that he must negotiate directly with the 
Tilletts on this matter, as they (the Tilletts) had claimed all 
the horses in their allotment areas. BLM District Manager 
Dante Solari further emphasized that "...this office [has] no 
objections to [Spidel's] gathering the horses so long as he 
[has] the consent of the parties having grazing licenses in the 
area and claiming ownership of the horses." 48 

On September 30, 1965, Solari and Assistant District Man- 
ager E. Birrell Hirschi met with Lloyd and Bessie Tillett at 
their ranch. In conversation, the running of their feral horses 
upon the federal range was brought up. The Tilletts said that 
they claimed any horses east of Crooked Creek, while those 
west of Crooked Creek belonged to Edna Anderson. The 
Tilletts also stated that they hoped to remove the horses 

44 Ibid. 

45 Ibid., p. 2. 

46 Ibid. 

47 Dante Solari to Bessie, Rob Roy, Royce, and Lloyd Tillett (memoran- 
dum), 29 March 1965. National Archives- WHHF. 

48 Solari to Bessie, Lloyd, Royce, and Rob Roy Tillett, 26 May 1 965. Na- 
tional Archives- WHHF. 

49 Solari and E. Birrell Hirschi to Tilletts, 23 November 1965. Bureau of 
Land Management, Billings Resource Area Files (4700- Wild and Free-Roam- 
ing Horse and Burro Management). (Note: Hereafter, this collection will be 
abbreviated 'BLM-BRA Files. "). 

Spring 199? 

fairly soon as they had contacted a horse buyer from Califor- 
nia who would purchase all they had for $40 a head delivered. 
Tilletts stated that they would gather the ones which could be 
gathered and eliminate those which could not and wondered 
if we knew where they could sell boned horse meat. Mr. 
Hirschi said he would contact a mink raiser in Billings to see 
if he would buy boned out horse meat. 49 

The Tilletts were asked to keep the District Office informed 
of any horse removal action taken by them. However, nearly 
two months later, the BLM had received no report or proof 
of the removal of any horses from the Tilletts. Therefore, a 
now-skeptical District Office sent — by Certified Mail, Re- 
turn Receipt Requested — a letter to the Tilletts on Novem- 
ber 24, warning them that "...if no action for the removal of 
the horses has taken place by December 10, 1965, trespass 
action by this office will be taken." 50 

One day before threatened action was to be implemented, 
Lloyd Tillett's wife, Abbie, called the District Office in re- 
sponse to their November 24 letter. "She stated that all the 
menfolk were out working cattle, that they had some horses 
in the corral, but their son was showing them to another boy 
and left the gate open allowing some to get away." Further, 
she said that all the horses had been sold to an individual 
from California, and it was just a matter of gathering them. 
She also stated that the Tilletts "...understood from our last 
conversation that [we] had all winter to gather and were plan- 
ning to do so." Subsequently, Abbie Tillett was asked to 
write down this telephone conversation, and submit it to Dis- 
trict Manager Solari. 51 She did so, that same day. 52 

Following this exchange, a "Notice of Trespass" was for- 
warded to Bessie, Lloyd, Royce, and Rob Roy Tillett on 
December 15, 1965 by the BLM District Office in Billings. 
It stated that an investigation had been made "...and evidence 
tends to show that you are in trespass." The act committed 
was noted as "...unlawfully causing and allowing 132 more 
or less horses to graze in an area closed to grazing of horses." 
Further, it said that the Tilletts had violated the Taylor Graz- 
ing Act and Grazing Regulations for the Public Lands, 43 
CFR 41 12.3-1 (a)(b). The allotments involved in these vio- 
lations were "Crooked Creek individual and Dryhead com- 
mon... ," 53 The Tilletts were allowed 15 days from receipt of 
the Notice of Trespass to cease the alleged trespass opera- 
tion, five days to present evidence that trespass violations 
had not occurred, and 20 days to appear at the BLM District 
Office in Billings " effect a settlement for trespass dam- 
ages..." if allegations were correct. 54 

The following day, at an Advisory Board meeting, the tres- 
pass notices sent to the Tilletts, and to Edna Anderson (a 
Tillett neighbor and sister of Bessie — for five trespass 
horses), were discussed. Both the Tillett and Anderson graz- 
ing permit applications had been rejected, "...pending settle- 
ment of trespass, reduction of horse numbers..." Further, 
they ordered the Tilletts to construct a fence to prevent fu- 
ture trespass through drifting of horses from the Dryhead to 
the Gyp Springs Allotment. 55 

On December 17, Lloyd Tillett called Solari in response 


to the Notice of Trespass. He was quite concerned. He said 
he thought that they had all winter to remove the horses. He 
further stated that they were building a new trap corral on 
the ranch and should be finished with it in two to three days. 
Then they would start to catch the horses. 56 

Solari told Tillett to keep the BLM District Office informed 
of their progress by letting the office know when they have 
caught horses, so that the BLM "...could check them." He 
also stated that once the Tilletts had cleared off the horses to 
the BLM's satisfaction that "...we would meet them to make 
final disposititon of the trespass." 57 

On January 5, 1966, a "Notice of Adverse Action" was 
issued to the Tilletts for building a fence, considered to be in 
trespass, on federal range, as the BLM had requested con- 
struction of a fence in a different location. At a January 31, 
1966 meeting of the Advisory Board, Lloyd Tillett stated 
that they would build the fence the BLM wanted (to stop the 
drift of Tillett livestock from east to west), but only if the 
Bureau would provide steel posts. He also requested that a 
man from the District Office be sent to the area to walk over 
the fence line site with them. 

A recommendation was made that "...the trespass action 
be stiff enough to make the seriousness of the violation ap- 
parent." 58 It was also noted at this meeting that no horses 
had been removed by the Tilletts from federal range. "The 
Tilletts say they have 32 horses in their field, but none actu- 
ally trapped or caught yet. Reasons why the horses were not 
yet removed.. .and means of catching them were discussed." 

The Tilletts say they believe the area is suitable for use only 
by horses because water holes are too far apart [for cattle]. 

50 Solari to Mr. Lloyd Tillett, Mrs. Bessie Tillett, Mr. Rob Roy Tillett, Mr. 
Royce Tillett, 24 November 1965. BLM-BRA Files. 

51 Solari to Bessie, Lloyd, Rob Roy, and Royce Tillett, 9 December 1965. 
National Archives- WHHF. 

52 She wrote: "[W]e can only say that some progress has been made. We 
have half a dozen in the corral at this time and as many more were lost when 
a visitor from town left the gate open. There are also quite a few, possibly 
twenty, locked in a pasture in Wyoming waiting for horses to be free to run 
them into a corral or trap. As you know, this is a busy season and all our 
saddle horses are in use just now trailing cattle out of Dryhead. However, in 
a week or so, the cattle should be settled and we can take up the horse running 
again. The men are all gone at present and will be for several days or I should 
not have taken it upon myself to write this though I am sure it is just as either 
Lloyd or Royce would tell you." Abbie Tillett to Solari, 9 December 1965. 
BLM-BRA Files. 

53 BLM District Office, Billings to Bessie, Lloyd, Royce, and Rob Roy 
Tillett, 15 December 1965, 1. BLM-BRA Files. 

54 Ibid., p. 2. 

55 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), Billings Grazing District (Montana 
#4), 16 December 1965, Section XVI., 5. BLM-BRA Files. 

56 Solari to Bessie, Lloyd, Royce & Rob Roy Tillett (memorandum), 17 
December 1965. National Archives-WHHF. 

57 Ibid. In a follow-up letter to the Tilletts on December 21, 1965, Solari 
reminded them to notify his office when the horses are corraled, to enable a 
BLM representative to inspect and verify the numbers. He also wished the 
Tilletts to furnish the District Office with copies of bills of sale involving the 
disposal of these animals. Solari to Mrs. Bessie Tillett, Lloyd Tillett, Royce 
Tillett, Rob Roy Tillett, 21 December 1965. National Archives-WHHF. 

58 Advisory Board Meeting (minutes), 31 January 1966, Section XVI., p. 
2. BLM-BRA Files. 

5 " Ibid. 


Annals of Wyoming: Trie Wyoming History Journal 

They were told that the horse numbers will have to be kept in 
balance with available forage. Lloyd Tillett said they would 
not claim any horses remaining on the range after this sum- 
mer. In answer to a question of to whom horses would belong 
if they were left there, it was mentioned that unbranded ones 
would belong to the State. 59 

A motion was made to sustain the original action of the 
Advisory Board, which required removal of trespass live- 
stock (horses) and payment of trespass fees, removal of the 
illegal fence, and construction of a legal boundary fence, 
before the Tilletts would be issued a license to graze cattle or 
horses on Federal range. All Tillett horses would continue to 
be in trespass. 60 

Early in 1966, Lovell residents began to hear about the 
Tillett's troubles with the BLM, and the situation was dis- 
cussed in March 1966 at a regular meeting of the Lovell 
Chamber of Commerce. The Rev. Floyd Schwieger, a 
Lutheran minister, and Howard Lusch, Pacific Power & Light 
Company manager, reported that "...a herd of wild horses 
the Tilletts claimed on their allotment had to be removed 
from the range. The Bureau of Land Management found 
them in trespass." 61 

Shortly after this meeting, Beverly Robertson, a reporter 
from The Lovell Chronicle, and a group of local citizens, 
toured the range to view the wild horses. Lloyd and Royce 
Tillett acted as guides. On the tour were Rev. Schwieger, Dr. 
L. H. Cowan, Richard Olsen, Wes Meeker, Bob Negro, 
Beverly Robertson, and Mark Robertson. The reporter wrote: 
"Our luck was exceptional that day. We saw at least six or 
seven [bands] of horses. We watched stallions drive their 
...mares in a colorful procession over terrifically rough coun- 
try." 62 As a consequence of this field trip, she wrote an ar- 
ticle in the form of an open letter to Governors Clifford 
Hansen of Wyoming and Tim Babcock of Montana. 

Titled "PLEASE Save the Horses...," the article was picked 
up by newspapers in southern Wyoming, in Denver, and in 
Billings. The publicity spawned more than 300 letters to 
Governor Hansen, alone. Lovell became the epicenter for 
controversy, with wild horse protection groups and reporters 
from newpapers, magazines, and television converging on 
this quiet, little town of 2,700 in the shadow of the Bighorn 
and Pryor Mountains, seeking information and photographs. 
A barrage of inquiries came from the public, as the publicity 
spread. Eventually, the "save the wild horses" movement 
gained national publicity, when United Press International 
(UPI) sent the story, about the attempt to preserve the herd, 
throughout America. And so, the stage was set for what was 
to become a highly publicized, often bitter, two-year battle 
to protect the wild horses of the Pryor Mountains. 

r ~JT he antagonisms between the Tilletts and the BLM Bill- 
*■ ings District Office had grown and become more openly 
— now, publicly — apparent. Years of what seemed to be 
enmity, in control, had now taken their toll, not just on the 
Tillett family, but on the federal agency. Neither side, it 

seemed, would back down. The Tilletts had homesteaded 
on what was once open range. They — like many multi- 
generational ranchers — resented the loss of freedom brought 
on by the Taylor Grazing Act, which spawned a succession 
of federal land agencies, increased federal regulation, and 
brought closer scrutiny. The mandate for scientific evalua- 
tion of the range had led to range surveys and "stocking rate" 
calculations — for cattle, sheep, horses, and wildlife — based 
on the availability of water and forage, that is, on range con- 
dition, trend, and utilization. Following passage of the Tay- 
lor Grazing Act, range conservation had become a profes- 
sional field within the U.S. Grazing Service and, after 1946, 
was carried forth within the BLM. These agencies were then, 
and are now, responsible for preventing further deterioration 
of the over-grazed rangelands of the West, and for effecting 
restoration where severe damage has occurred. 

The Pryor Mountain herd was cited for reduction or re- 
moval, for the following reasons, according to a BLM brief- 
ing statement: 

Problem is one of too many horses for available forage. 
Erosion is accelerating rapidly. ...It is important winter deer 
range, supporting a sizeable mule deer herd. A rapidly in- 
creasing ratio between does and surviving fawns is indicator 
of deteriorating habitat. As the horse numbers increased, the 
range and wildlife resources began a steady decline. In 1959, 
about 1/4 of the range was in "bad" condition and the doe- 
fawn deer ratio was 74 fawn/100 does. By 1963, approxi- 
mately all the area was in "bad" condition while the doe-fawn 
ratio continued to decline to.. .34 fawns/100 does. 63 

However, on a public tour of Pryor Mountain wild horse 
habitat in March 1966, led by Royce Tillett, the seasoned 
rancher pointed out that "...deer prefer to eat mountain ma- 
hogany or bitter brush as it is sometimes called." Further, he 
argued that "Deer will eat weeds as much as they eat 
grass... [the] juniper that BLM people think the deer killed 
because horses compete for grass had died because of drought, 
not because deer nibbled it, in my opinion." 64 

The Pryor Mountain wild horses had lost the luxury of 
grazing where they pleased, when they pleased. In an analo- 
gous sense, the Tilletts had begun to feel the constraints of 
federal control, in a far more powerful way than they had 
ever felt them before. They, at first, chose to ignore "tres- 
pass violations," fencing mandates, and "snooping" federal 
officials, but as the pressures increased, they began to fight 
back. The Pryor Mountain herd was at the center of their 
conflict with the BLM. The horses were a symbol of their 
long-held freedom. To allow the "neophytic" BLM to dic- 
tate, meant, for the Tilletts, a diminution of hard- won power 

60 Ibid.,p.3. 

61 Phyllis Hill, "Mustangs of the Range: Local Pressure the Spark That 
Ignited the Fire to Save the Horses," Lovell Chronicle, 29 July 1993, p. 16. 

62 Beverly Robertson, "PLEASE Save the Horses...," The Lovell 
Chronicle, 24 March 1966. 

61 BLM Montana State Office Staff Analysis: Pryor Mountain Horse Di- 
lemma, n.d. (ca. 1968), 1. National Archives- WHHF. 

64 Beverly Robertson, "PLEASE Save the Horses...," Lovell Chronicle, 24 
March 1966. 



and an erosion of their instilled sense of choice. They, there- 
fore, played clever games with federal officials in the Bill- 
ings District Office, fabricating scenarios of promise they 
may never have intended to keep, offering to gather trespass 
horses, then falling back in the effort. 

Although the Tilletts throughout many decades had dis- 
claimed the Pryor horses, then claimed them, then offered to 
gather them (even destroy them), at the heart of who they 
were (and are) as people — as a family — is an enduring 
respect for animals, both domesticated and wild, that tran- 
scends economics and gain. They were now at the center of 
the imbroglio to save the Pryor Mountain wild horses, with a 
growing number of hearty foot soldiers, and new weapons. 

In a March 1 966 interview with Beverly Robertson — the 
reporter for the Lovell Chronicle who had toured the area 
frequented by the controversial wild horse herd — Royce 
Tillett had expressed, "If something is not done, most of [the 
wild] herd [would] end up as canned dog and cat food." The 
Tilletts had told her, at that juncture, that they would like to 
save the Pryor Mountain wild horse herd. 

Realizing they were in a position of growing strength, 
Lloyd, Bessie, and Royce Tillett wrote to Dante Solari, BLM 
District Manager, Billings, on April 15, stating that 

We do not believe we should have been trespassed on the 
horses because at the time we met last fall we came to an 

Bessie Tillett was 76 when this photograph was taken 
by Lowell Georgia of the Denver Post in 1966. 


agreement about the horses. At that time we were to take care 
of the horses with the understanding that we were to have a 
year in which to do it. Also when I called you in December 
you said to pay no attention to the trespass notice but to let 
you know when we were getting rid of the horses. We have 
gotten rid of about twenty-seven head to date. At the time you 
were here to the meeting we disclaimed ownership of the un- 
branded stock. You stated we would be notified sixty days in 
advance before these horses were disposed of in any way. 65 

Soon after, on April 21, Harold Tysk, Director of the Mon- 
tana State BLM Office in Billings, sent a note to Eugene 
Zumwalt at the Director's Office, regarding the Tilletts' April 
15 correspondence. "Obviously, we cannot yet accept this 
as a disclaimer to quiet trespass action. We will keep you 
informed. This letter will become public domain sooner or 
later, by Tilletts, not us." 66 

On April 25, 1966, E. Birrell Hirschi, Assistant District 
Manager, BLM District Office, Billings, wrote a memo to 
the District Manager Solari, after an inspection of the Dryhead 
Common allotment. Hirschi and another BLM employee, 
Bruce Daughton, had encountered the Tilletts trailing cattle 
up from Crooked Creek to a place east of the Dryhead in- 
spection corrals. Hirschi asked Bessie Tillett where the cattle 
were going, and she replied that "...some are going on Fed- 
eral Range down by the Big Horn River." When he told her 
that none of her livestock could be placed on federal range, 
as the Tilletts had no license, she said, "I thought we had our 
license reinstated." Hirschi informed her that no license had 
yet been issued, and, therefore, the Tilletts could place no 
cattle upon the federal range until they possessed one. 

I then asked her what she was going to do about the fence 
north of the house. Mrs. Tillett said nothing as the demand 
was unfair as other people had fences on federal land besides 
Lloyd didn't have the time to construct any fence now. I then 
asked her what she was going to do with her horses west of 
Crooked Creek. She said, 'We don't have any horses west of 
Crooked Creek besides those are all wild horses.' 67 

Hirschi told Bessie that some of the horses had a TX brand, 
that they were not all wild and would have to be removed. 
She replied, "I can count all the horses on the range that are 
branded with a TX." He reiterated that all TX-branded horses 
would have to be taken off federal range. 68 

Meanwhile, the Montana Fish and Game Department was 
becoming involved, "...determined to see a herd of some 
140 mustangs on the Bill Tillett Ranch near Crooked Creek, 
Mont., reduced to 20 animals — or else." Although the game 
department had no jurisdiction or enforcement powers in the 

65 Lloyd Tillett, Bessie F. Tillett, Royce E. Tillett to Dante Solari. 1 5 April 
1966. BLM-BRA Files. 

66 Harold Tysk to Eugene Zumwalt, (short note transmittal), 2 1 April 1%6. 
National Archives-WHHF. 

67 E. Birrell Hirschi to District Manager (memorandum), 25 April 1966. 
National Archives-WHHF. 

68 Ibid. 

69 Thomas, "Matter of Grass: 'Wild' Horses Decision Due," Denver Post. 


Annals 01 Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

case, it supported the BLM, largely because of what was 
perceived as competition between the wild horses and a large 
population of mule deer. However, this agency also wanted 
to reestablish a herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep on 
the same range, presuming that wild sheep would not com- 
pete with cattle and deer, as they claimed the horses did. 69 

Fletcher Newby, supervisor of Montana Fish and Game 
Department's south central district, which included the Pry or 
Mountain range, said that his department was investigating 
the "legal aspects of the case" and had made several field 
studies. He noted that records showed "...a substantial big- 
horn population in the Pryors some years ago," and that a 
commercial sheep-hide operation once existed in the region. 
"We kind of have the feeling the bighorns have priority," 
said Newby. Eliminating the horses and putting bighorn on 
the range would, in his opinion, create "...a much more man- 
ageable situation," especially as wild horses were not con- 
sidered "wild game animals," that is, not huntable. 70 

At the same time the controversy over this little herd of 
wild horses was heating up in early 1966, a bill was being 
pushed through Congress by Rep. Teno Roncalio, D-Wyo. 
to create a national recreation area through the spectacular 
canyon of the Big Horn River, east of the Pryor Mountains. 71 

The Lovell Chamber of Commerce began thinking that 
the Pryor Mountain wild horses would prove to be a "...valu- 
able added attraction to sights in the recreation area which 
expects as many as 562,000 visitor days within five years." 
Already, a new road was being constructed by the National 
Park Service, off Highway 14A, into the proposed "Bighorn 
Canyon NRA" and onto federal lands often frequented by 
bands of Pryor Mountain wild horses. 72 An editorial in the 
Billings Gazette pleaded with the BLM to allow the Pryor 
horses their "...home on the range, which happens to be only 
a few miles from the Big Horn National Recreation area. 
Wild horses! Think of them as a tourist attraction. 'Turn 
Right for Wild Horse Mesa.'" 73 

The Casper Star-Tribune wrote in agreement that wild 
horses could be an important asset of interest to tourists, " 
has been indicated in some of the out-of-state expressions 
concerning the controversy." 74 The editorial continued: 

There is a sentimental appeal which the horse arouses, and 
although it is obviously impractical to turn the entire range 
over to these mustangs, there is a flavor of the Old West that 
should not be discounted. The wild horse problem has been 
recurrent on the Wyoming range because of the competition 
for grass. The question is one of where to draw the line and 
whether the horses should be eliminated entirely in the inter- 
ests of other livestock and wild game. 75 

Three committees from the Lovell Chamber of Commerce 
argued that the wild horses roaming the East Pryor Moun- 
tains were not just a potential major tourist attraction, but an 
historical and aesthetic asset to the area, as well. They felt 
that "...a national wild horse herd refuge at the atomic bomb 
area in Nevada..." [Nellis Air Force Base] should set a pre- 
cedence for wild horse preservation. "We feel that we have 
an opportunity to preserve a little bit of our heritage in the 

East Pryor Mountains," they said. The Chamber commit- 
tees stated that they did not wish to contribute toward " 
tablishing ill-will between the Tillet [sic] Ranch and the 
Bureau of Land Management. With both of them helping us 
we are concerned about establishing a good, all around rec- 
reational and historical area for local people as well as for 
our summer guests. 76 

In a letter to the editor, published in the Billings Gazette, 
Tom Winters of Jardine, Montana, said that he could re- 
member wild horses in the Pryor Mountains from boyhood, 
having grown up in that area. "Why the sudden urge to 
destroy them? These horses could be one of the greatest 
tourist attractions in the world," he wrote. 77 

In the interim, Governor Clifford Hansen was becoming 
increasingly involved in the matter of impending wild horse 
removal by the BLM in the Pryor Mountain area. He pointed 
out that the controversy was basically a "legal question." 
However, he added that aside from the legal ramifications, 
which "...centered around the presence of more animals than 
are permitted by the Bureau of Land Management...," there 
would be few persons unmoved by the existence of wild 
horses in the rugged, mountainous country of the Pryors. "It 
rekindles old camp fires long since dead," he said. "Young 
people and old alike, because of the stories in the papers 
recently, will have one more reason to visit this exciting dra- 
matic new recreation area around Yellowtail Reservoir." 78 

70 Ibid. 

71 Roncalio felt certain that "Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area" 
would become a reality before the year was over, with Interior Committee 
Chairman Wayne Aspinall, D-Colo. pushing the bill through within this ses- 
sion of Congress. This bill would create a recreation area around Yellowtail 
Reservoir. The Yellowtail Dam in southern Montana, near Fort Smith, had 
spawned this 71-mile-long reservoir, with 47 miles extending through Big 
Horn Canyon south to the Lovell, Wyoming area. Roncalio believed that 
"...the extensive recreational attractions..." would draw more than 550,000 
visitors annually by 1970. 71 "Bureau Action Threatens Wild Horse Herds," 
Billings Gazette, 29 March 1966, 6. 

72 Robertson, "PLEASE Save the Horses...," 24 March 1 966. 

73 Editorial, "Turn Right for Wild Horse Mesa," Billings Gazette, 3 1 March 

74 "The Wild Horses" (editorial), Casper Star-Tribune, 1 April 1966, 4. 
15 Ibid. 

76 '"Save the Wild Horses', Lovell Committees Ask," Billings Gazette 
(Morning Edition), 2 April 1966, 3. 

77 "Our government can surely put up with a matter as trivial as a band of 
wild horses. We feed the world, and the rats and rodents of India, would it be 
out of the question to feed a few horses at home?.. .Protests to such things 
seem to fall on unhearing ears, but.. .if enough protests are made the wild 
horses can be saved. Don't go for 'reduction.' This will be extinction. Tom 
Winters, "Wild Horses Considered a Tourist Attraction," Billings Gazette, 5 
April 1966. 

78 "Wild Horse Dispute a Legal Problem," Billings Gazette (Evening Edi- 
tion), 5 April 1966, 20. The governor's office had received hundreds of let- 
ters from people throughout the West, asking him to save the wild horses. 
However, it had already become obvious where the governor's heart lay. 
Less than four years later, as Senator Hansen, he would introduce a bill (S. 
3358) "To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to protect, manage, and 
control free-roaming horses and burros on public lands" (This bill would be 
the forerunner of similar introductions, leading, in 1971, to the Wild Free- 
Roaming Horses and Burros Act.). He said of the Pryor imbroglio: "In a day 
when vapor trails are a familiar sight and orbiting missiles are common sub- 
jects of teen-age conversation, this wild horse controversy adds a new di- 
mension to the adventure of being a young American." 

Spring 1997 

The BLM was now reporting to the press that the wild 
horse herd, estimated at 150 horses, was "...claimed as do- 
mestic stock by the Tillett family...." They said that many of 
the horses were branded- (the Tilletts maintained that these 
branded wild horses had been inadvertently caught up in 
roundups designed to catch their own domestic horses, and 
branded by mistake). 79 While the agency said it was not 
opposed to the horses grazing on public lands, per se , if the 
Tilletts wanted to keep the excess number of horses, they 
could do so by decreasing the number of cattle running on 
their grazing-land allotment, "But they must make up their 
mind what they want most — horses or cattle." 80 Montana 
BLM Director Tysk put it this way: "A rancher using public 
lands cannot have the whole cake and eat it too." 81 

The Tilletts maintained — as they had on previous occa- 
sions — that the land on their grazing allotments in question 
was too rugged and barren for cattle or sheep, with watering 
holes too far apart, and that plenty of grazing for deer, as 
well as for the horses, existed in the area. However, they 
began to worry, as did Lovell residents, that their arguments 
fell on deaf ears and that the BLM would soon auction rights 
to the herd to the highest bidder. "If something is not done," 
warned Royce Tillett, repeatedly, "most of this herd will 
end up as canned dog and cat food." 82 

With all of the national publicity beginning to erupt, ma- 
jor wild horse protection groups were also becoming in- 
volved. A telegram from Helen A. Reilly of Badger, Cali- 
fornia, to the Lovell Chamber of Commerce revealed that 
the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and 
Burros (ISPMB) had contacted Interior Secretary Stewart L. 
Udall. ISPMB had asked Udall to help place the wild horse 
herd on the Big Horn National Forest in a refuge situation. 83 

Lovell Mayor Cal Taggart sent copies of letters received 
by the town of Lovell to Joe Rumburg, Jr., a National Park 
Service superintendent in Hardin, Montana. The NPS placed 
itself on the side of the BLM, but said it would take respon- 
sibility for the wild horse herd, were it relocated to the "Big 
Horn area." Taggart enclosed a message with the cache of 
letters, suggesting that if Rumberg decided to become "keeper 
of the wild horses," each horse should be named after "a 
famous person in our government." 84 

Federal and state agencies, including the BLM, NPS, and 
Montana Fish and Game Department, repeatedly em- 
phasized that they did not consider the Pryor horses "wild." 
However, Royce Tillett — while admitting that some horses 
had interbred with domestic horses — called the herd, in 
general, "wild in nature." But, National Park Service offi- 
cials stated that "...showing the horses as a tourist attraction 
on the basis the horses [are] wild would be a fraud." Mon- 
tana Fish and Game Department said that if the herd is truly 
wild and claimed by no one, the herd would come under the 
jurisdiction of the county. 85 However, NPS Superintendent 
Joe Rumburg, Jr. hedged on the question: "Actually, it would 
require a great deal of study. Basic information would be 
needed as to the time the herd has been in existence and the 


manipulation of the herd by ranchers would need to be con- 
sidered." 86 
By "manipulation," Rumburg was referring to the old prac- 
tice by ranchers of releasing domestic stallions into a herd to 
breed with wild mares. He felt that if the Pryor Mountain 
wild horses proved to be "truly wild," the NPS "...would be 
interested in preserving at least a portion of the herd for ob- 
servation by visitors to the Yellowtail Recreation area." 87 

Stepping up to add his prominent voice to the discussion 
on whether or not the Pryor horses were "wild," and should 
be preserved, was Dr. Harold McCracken, Western natural- 
ist, author of 28 books, historian, and director of the Witney 
Gallery of Western Art at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center 
in Cody, Wyoming. McCracken said: kill a single one of the wild horses roaming the Wyo- 
ming-Montana border would be one of the greatest disgraces 
in conservation and our heritage since the slaughter of the 
buffalo.. .It's a well known fact that those wild horses have 
not only survived but prospered in that area for the last 1 50 
years.. .it would be better for the federal government to 
crease the size of the [wild horse] herds instead of reducing 
them. 88 

To McCracken, the horses had tourist-drawing powers. 
He believed the horses could be one of the most important 
visitor attractions within the state of Wyoming. 

Attacking the BLM for its lack of "conservation 
mindedness," McCracken said he "...deplore[d] it very 
deeply..." that the herd may be slaughtered for pet food, "...if 
they wanted to preserve the West and its beauties which is 
the trend in Washington [D.C.], why the hell don't they go 
in there and plant some feed instead of killing our horses 
off.' 89 He said any reduction in the number of wild horses 
would be detrimental to the healthy survival of the herd. "If 
they cut that herd down to 20 as they announced they had in 
mind, it's going to lead to in-breeding. If we have a couple 
of bad winters, it might be very detrimental if not disastrous." 90 

On April 8, 1966, about 30 people, including McCracken, 
had met at the Lloyd Tillett ranch to discuss the future of the 
Pryor Mountain herd. Elmer Shaw, an official with the BLM 
from Billings, said he expected the meeting to last most of 
the day "without any definite solutions." 91 However, the gath- 

79 "BLM Says Lovell Horses Not Wild," n.p., n.d. BLM-BRA Files. 

80 "BLM Maintains Horses 'Wild'," Billings Gazette, 3 April 1966. 

81 Gary Harvey, "Fate of Wild Horses May Be Decided on Friday," Bill- 
ings Gazette (Morning Edition), 6 April 1966, 16. 

i2 Ibid. 

83 Ibid. 

84 Ibid. 

85 "BLM Says Lovell Horses Not Wild," n.p., n.d. 

86 Beverly Robertson, "Threatened Horse Herds' 'Wildness' Questioned," 
Casper Star-Tribune, n.d. BLM-BRA Files. 

87 Ibid. 

88 Max Jennings, "McCracken Insists Horses Truly Wild," Casper Star 
Tribune, April 10, 1966,9. 

89 Max Jennings, "McCracken Says 'Keep' Wild Horses," n.p., n.d. BLM- 
BRA Files. 

Q0 Jennings, "McCracken Insists Horses Truly Wild," 10 April 1966. 
91 "Meeting Held on Wild Horses," Billings Gazette (Evening Edition), 8 
April 1966. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History journal 

ering would prove to be a preliminary victory for the Pryor 
Mountain wild horses and for the Tilletts. In a maneuver that 
would create a foundation for further negotiation, the Tilletts 
orally agreed to relinquish their claim to ownership of the 
wild horses on condition that the BLM would consider es- 
tablishing a refuge for the horses, restore the Tillett grazing 
permits, and make a study of range conditions. 

The BLM did agree to give the Tilletts back their grazing 
permits. However, the final decision regarding horse reduc- 
tion or removal would depend on the outcome of their range 
survey. Nevertheless, the agreement prolonged the Pryor 
Mountain herd's stay for about a year; by then, horse advo- 
cates hoped to have the refuge idea more fully developed. 
"Well," said Bessie Tillett after the Friday meeting, "we'll 
have them one more year and maybe longer, and that's some- 
thing." 92 

* * * 

T n light of public opinion, a Billings newspaper head- 
A line asked: "Hoof Marks in the Seat of BLM's Pants?" 93 
Burned by the adverse publicity surrounding reduction/re- 
moval plans for the Pryor Mountain horses, BLM District 
Manager Dante Solari retorted, "The Bureau never intended 
to go out and kill the horses for dog and cat food," adding 
that he wanted what was best for the animals and the land. 94 
BLM's range inventory was to be made that summer and 
fall, to determine how much land the Pryor Mountain herd 
would require for its foraging and water needs, as well as for 
protection of the health of rangelands on which they grazed. 
The study would also seek to determine how often and how 
far the horses ranged into Wyoming; where they ranged at 
different seasons; where they watered; and what steps could 
be taken to stop them from encroaching into other areas. If 
the horses were to be removed at all, according to the BLM, 
it would not happen until the spring of 1967. Solari was 
uncertain where the herd would be placed, if a move were 
necessary, but perhaps on range in Montana, Wyoming, or 
"transported to a more suitable site in another state." The 
Tilletts and members of the Lovell Chamber of Commerce 
had recommended that a minimum of 50 horses be retained 
to maintain a healthy herd and to reduce inbreeding. 95 

Although it was clear that the BLM was rapidly backing 
away from a position of inflexibility, Solari denied being 
"pressured" from Washington for a fast settlement of the 
conflict. 96 However, the bureau had a dilemma on its hands. 
Wild horses were considered by the BLM to be "stray," "fe- 
ral," "abandoned," animals or their offspring. As a result, 
they occupied no legally recognized position on public lands 
administered by the agency. Sheep, goats, cattle, and horses 
were traditionally considered "domestic livestock" and, un- 
der a mandate from Congress, had to be licensed. But BLM 
officials had no legal authority to deal with "wild horses," 
and clarification of legal ownership status was needed, they 
said. 97 

Meanwhile, the Lovell Chamber of Commerce was busy 
making plans, and seeking volunteers, to conduct visitor tours 
of the area where the now-famous herd of wild horses roamed. 
National Geographic Magazine had, by the second week of 

May 1966, helicoptered through the Pryor Mountain range 
to photograph the horses and their picturesque habitat. 98 

By the spring of 1967, the Lovell Chamber of Commerce 
had already picked out a name for the hoped-for wild horse 
refuge — "Yellowtail Horse Haven." The chamber had rec- 
ommended that "some sort of area be set up along the Mon- 
tana-Wyoming border to hold feral horses (so-called wild 
ones) running loose south of Pryor Mountain." Rev. Floyd 
Schwieger, chairman of the chamber's Historical Commit- 
tee, indicated that the chamber had requested the BLM and 
the NPS to help set up the "horse area" as an additional sce- 
nic attraction adjoining the Bighorn Canyon National Rec- 
reation Area. The horse haven would be located about 15 
miles north of Lovell, "just north of Horseshoe Bend," said 
R. W. Snedeker, chamber president. Schwieger explained 
that the group was requesting "...simply that a controlled 
herd of 80 to 100 horses be kept." He added: "We realize 
the herd cannot be allowed to expand endlessly. What is 
needed is about 35,000 to 40,000 acres of land in the area 
south of Custer National Forest boundaries on Pryor Moun- 
tain, west of Bighorn River and bounded by Crooked Creek 
to the west and south." 99 

Schwieger noted that the chamber would like to meet with 
the BLM in Billings "to see what can be worked out." In the 
interim, Lloyd and Royce Tillett had indicated they would 
cooperate with both the chamber and the BLM. "They say 
some of their cattle range as much as a half mile east of 
Crooked Creek but would not interfere with an area set aside 
for horses," relayed Schwieger. Concerning the accessibil- 
ity for public horse viewing, he added that four- wheel-drive- 
only and some passable dirt roads already existed into the 
site, and these could potentially be developed at a future time. 
Further, the Historical Committee recommended that the 
BLM and NPS help set up a public information program, 
once the wild horse refuge was created. It also suggested 
that "excess horses," or those in nearby areas, be trapped or 
rounded up "in a humane way," and offered to local people. 
Meanwhile, BLM officials in Billings were saying they 

92 Dick Thomas, "Year's Reprieve Granted — Wild Horses Round Up 
Support," Denver Post, 10 April 1966,2. 

93 John Young, "Hoof Marks in Seat of BLM Pants?" Billings Gazette 
(Morning Edition), 26 May 1966, 3. 

94 Pat Connolly, "Wild Horse Herd Stays...At Least This Summer," Bill- 
ings Gazette (Morning Edition), 1 3 April 1966, p. 2. 

95 Ibid. 

97 Young, "Hoof Marks in Seat of BLM Pants?" 3. Harold Tysk, Montana 
State BLM Director, explained: "We are not opposed to the preservation of 
the feral or wild horse if this is the desire of the public. Unfortunately, a more 
important and lasting problem has been observed by recent controversy on 
what to do with these animals. This problem is the protection and husbandry 
of the basic soil, water and plant communities, upon which all animals, in- 
cluding the horse, must depend. It is a known fact that land will only hold and 
feed a certain number of livestock and wildlife. The bureau is the public agency 
assigned the responsibility of protecting, managing and improving public 
land resources." 

98 Beverly Robertson, "Burro Protector Visits Wild Horse Herd," Casper 
Star-Tribune, 19 May 1966. 

99 John Young, "Horse Haven Has Tourist 'Ring'." Billings Gazette, 12 
April 1967. 

Spring 1997 

wanted to hear more about this project; exactly what sort of 
area was being proposed; how it could be developed; and 
how and from where the necessary funds would be raised. 100 

In September 1967, the BLM announced a new national 
policy "...promising protection for wild horses roaming BLM 
land." This policy would, they said, include the Pryor Moun- 
tain wild horses, placing the herd under a "planned manage- 
ment program for a reasonable number of animals where 
'esthetic value of wild horses or burros on BLM land is a 
public asset."' 101 

A month later, on October 24, 1967, Billings BLM Natu- 
ral Resource Specialist E. Birrell Hirschi and a supervisor 
from the Montana Brand Inspection Board, Ben Huckins, 
toured the Tilletts' Crooked Creek allotment, north of 
Crooked Creek. Hirschi asked Lloyd Tillett how important 
the horses were to him. He replied that " was not a mat- 
ter of how important the horses were to [him] but that public 
pressure was great enough now that it was what the public 
wanted." When Tillett was asked if he would help the BLM 
gather horses and "...get rid of them," he said he would not. 
Hirschi reported the following conversation: 

Mr. Tillett suggested that the Bureau of Land Management 
retain ownership of the herd and.. .then sell licenses whereby 
horses could be roped for a price of $35 a permit. If a horse 
were not roped by an individual the roping fee could be re- 
funded back to the individual who failed to catch his horse. I 
told Mr. Tillett that this was impossible as the Bureau of Land 
Management does not claim ownership to the horses and could 
not because Tilletts had not given us ownership to them and 
that unbranded horses become property of the state in which 
they were. 102 

Tillett said that he had given the BLM ownership of the 
horses, but Hirschi told him this was only an oral agreement, 
with nothing in writing. Hirschi told Tillett that the Bureau 
would carry on a "...controlled horse program by water trap- 
ping," where fences, with gates, would be constructed around 
watering holes, to allow or to deny horses access to water. 
When gates were closed, bands would be forced to use alter- 
native water sources, concentrating horses in strategic areas 
for trapping. Tillett was skeptical about the effectiveness of 
water trapping but said he would go along with the idea, 
cooperating with the BLM when needed. 103 

Hirschi asked Tillett if he would be willing to relinquish 
all grazing rights for cattle in an area proposed for the Pryor 
Mountain wild horses in the Dryhead Common allotment. 
Both Royce and Lloyd agreed that they would be willing. 
The area was not being used by livestock. The BLM's plan 
was to clear the Dryhead Common of all cattle, combined 
with an additional area south of the Pryor Mountains, to al- 
low a herd of 100 wild horses to be maintained. 104 

Tilletts were in complete accord with the proposed line all 
the way to Britton Springs and over to the area where it hit 
the Big Coulee rim. Lloyd then suggested that instead of the 
line going part way down Big Coulee rim and swinging east 
then up along the Dryhead road that it go all the way down 
Big Coulee rim and tie into their fence just west of Big Cou- 
lee. All the area north of this would be in wild horse area. 105 


Two days after this meeting, the Tilletts formalized, in 
writing, their oral agreement with the BLM to disclaim the 
Pryor Mountain wild horse herd. Their concurrent relinquish- 
ment of specific grazing rights, on grazing allotments, was 
an unexpected factor in what seemed to be another peace 
offering in their quest to save the wild horses. Both acts 
were designed to expedite creation of a wild horse refuge in 
the area. And, so it was, on October 26, 1967, the Tilletts 
signed a "Waiver of Ownership of Horses." At the stroke of 
a pen, Lloyd, Royce, Bessie, and Rob Roy Tillett waived 
"...claim of ownership to any unmarked and unbranded horses 
at large on [certain] described public land in Montana and 
Wyoming." 106 At the same time, they relinquished grazing 
privileges for 275 animal unit months (AUMs) on specific 
areas of their grazing allotments. 107 

On December 4, 1967, the Montana Livestock Commis- 
sion resolved that ownership of livestock (including horses 
and burros), without specific responsibility, was contrary to 
its policy. The Commission also stated that in the creation 
of any refuge, such as that proposed for the Pryor Moun- 
tains, state lines should be fenced to determine jurisdiction 
and eliminate confusion of responsibility and policy. The 
Commission contended that the public could not "own" wild 
horses, with the Pryor horses considered stray livestock, and 
falling under state estray laws. 108 In a nutshell, the Commis- 
sion did not recognize the existence of wild horses at all. 109 

In March of 1 968, the Billings BLM presented three courses 
of action for "...dealing with a problem of too many uncon- 
trolled horses on the southern slopes of the Pryor Mountains." 
Its softer, more compromising approach of the past fall had 
hardened. Dean Bibles had replaced Dante Solari as Bill- 
ings BLM district manager; data from the recent range sur- 
vey of the Pryor area had, apparently, been analyzed; and 
the Montana Livestock Commission was protesting BLM's 
new wild horse policy as being in direct conflict with Mon- 
tana law. BLM's three "Alternative Solutions" involved the 

Proposal #1 ) Management for maximum horse use consis- 
tent with proper management of the watershed: The horse 
herd of approximately 200 animals would be reduced by 
corral trapping to 30 or 35 selected animals and then man- 
aged at that approximate number until the watershed recov- 
ers. Potential horse numbers would probably not exceed 50 

100 Ibid 

101 "BLM's Horse Policy Satisfies Lovell," Billings Gazette, 23 September 

102 E. Birrell Hirschi, "Status of Wildlife and Horse Range in Crooked 
Creek Allotment South of Pryor Mountains" (typewritten report), 26 October 
1967,2. BLM-BRA Files. 

103 Ibid. 

104 Ibid. 
" ,f Ibid. 

106 "Waiver of Ownership of Horses," (typewritten) 26 October 1967. 
BLM-BRA Files. 

107 "Relinquishment of Base Property - Qualifications" (typewritten), 43 
CFR 41 15.22(c), 26 October 1967. BLM-BRA Files. 

108 Thomas, The Wild Horse Controversy, 76, 77. 

Ifl " BLM District Manager, "Information Sheet - Pryor Mountain Horse 
Area" (typed), Billings, Montana, n.d.(ca. March 1968), 1. BLM-BRA Files. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

to 60 animals. Horse use would have priority over wildlife, 
and deer numbers would probably be reduced accordingly. 
The proposed reintroduction of bighorn sheep would not be 
permitted under this proposal because studies have shown 
that bighorns and horses compete for the same food plants; 

Proposal #2) Management for watershed, wildlife habitat 
and horses to an extent consistent with all uses: Calls for 
reducing the horse herd to 10 to 15 selected animals, with a 
potential of about 30. The population would be maintained 
until such time as native grasses recover and the watershed 
is stabilized; 

Proposal #3) Removal of all horses, permanent closure of 
the area to horse use, and management for wildlife habitat 
and watershed values: The State Livestock Commission 
would corral all the horses possible, return branded or claimed 
animals to their rightful owners, and sell the remainder 
through auction. Following removal of the horses, big game 
habitat would be managed to maintain present deer numbers 
and to support a huntable bighorn sheep herd. Bighorn in- 
troductions would begin in 1970 and their numbers allowed 
to increase to range capacity. Population control would then 
be effected through sport hunting. 110 

The above proposals were sent out for public comment, 
with the BLM's comment period ending June 14, 1968. These 
alternatives were referred to by Newsweek as a choice of 
"remove, remover, removest."" 1 Royce Tillett was quoted 
as saying, "No one disagrees that the land is overgrazed, but 

we want a herd large enough — say 100 head — so they 
won't inbreed and spoil the mustang blood." The Newsweek 
article revealed that the controversy was becoming increas- 
ingly bitter, with the BLM accusing the Lovell Chamber of 
Commerce and local Lovellites of being more concerned with 
tourism and publicity than they were with the health of the 
land involved. The wild horse advocates had labeled the 
BLM "armchair naturalists" and "horse haters."" 2 

The BLM was now proposing to install a fence along the 
Wyoming-Montana border to restrain the movement of the 
Pryor Mountain wild horses and to solve the state jurisdic- 
tional problem brought to light by the Montana Livestock 
Commission. However, the Lovell Chamber of Commerce 
opposed construction of this fence, showing an increasing 
frustration with the BLM, and they began to explore the idea 
of "...having a horse territory included in the recreational 
area (Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area)." The 
chamber planned to contact the Wyoming and Montana con- 
gressional delegations, governors, all federal, state and local 
officials and agencies, the International Society for the Pro- 
tection of Mustangs and Burros, and all Wyoming and Mon- 
tana chambers of commerce, for support. Phyllis Hill, secre- 
tary of the Lovell Chamber of Commerce, said that the 
chamber's Historical Committee had recommended that "the 


111 Newsweek, May 13, 1968. 

112 Thomas, The Wild Horse Controversy, 77. 

'The Last Roundup. " This cartoon appeared in the Billings Gazette, March 27, 1968. Reproduced by permission. 

Spring 199? 

wild horses, natural phenomena and Indian artifacts should 
be preserved for future generations and every aspect of his- 
torical significance incorporated in the Big Horn National 
Recreation Area."" 3 

On March 1 8, the Riverton Ranger was reporting that the 
Lovell Chamber of Commerce had formed a "Save the Wild 
Horse Committee" to contest the proposed reduction of the 
Pryor Mountain wild horses by the BLM." 4 

A day later, wire-service-generated headlines screamed 
"Wild Horses to be Auctioned Off," (St. Paul Pioneer Press); 
"BLM Plans to Trap Wild Horse Herd," (The Northern Wyo- 
ming Daily News); "Wyoming Wild Mustangs to be Trapped 
and Sold," (Casper Star-Tribune). Dean Bibles had been 
quoted as saying that "...almost all the wild horses in a herd 
of mustangs now running free on open range on the Wyo- 
ming-Montana border will be trapped and auctioned this sum- 
mer."" 5 However, Bibles responded that the BLM was "...still 
trying to get public sentiment" through public meetings and 
discussions, and that a decision regarding the three proposed 
alternatives for the Pryor Mountain wild horses would not be 
made for some time." 6 Despite this explanation, several 
newspapers and magazines, in subsequent stories about the 
on-going Pryor Mountain feud, stated that the BLM planned 
to trap all the horses and sell them for pet food. For weeks, 
newspapers, radio, and TV stations blasted the BLM, and 
hundreds of letters were written accusing the agency of in- 
humane treatment of wild horses. In reality, the only thing 
the BLM was then planning to do, that would directly affect 
the Pryor horses, was to construct a four-strand barbed-wire 
fence along natural (not state) boundaries, on the southern 
border of the proposed wild horse area, to keep the horses off 
private lands and to prevent cattle and sheep from wander- 
ing into the horse range." 7 However, this fence, too, would 
become a point of controversy, with the BLM accused of 
fencing the herd away from "lusher grazing areas."" 8 

News of the "near mustang slaughter" spread across the 
nation, picking up steam as it moved along. One BLM spokes- 
man said ruefully, "We're the guys in the long mustaches 
and black hats." By June, the BLM had received thousands 
of letters and had held 24 public meetings." 9 Another BLM 
spokesman, in defense of his agency's proposals to reduce or 
eliminate the herd, said of the Pryor horses, "Many.. .are of 
very low quality, scrawny and with feet as big as dinner plates. 
They aren't at all the noble animals you think of when you 
think of wild horses." 120 

Meanwhile, the BLM was attempting to locate a "spon- 
sor" for the Pryor Mountain wild horse herd, should a deci- 
sion be made to reduce, rather than remove, the horses. Owing 
to requirements of Montana livestock law, someone or some 
group would have to assume responsibility for them, that is, 
"claim" the horses and "own" them. By Montana law, as 
explained previously, stray horses belonged to the state un- 
less they were branded or otherwise subject to valid claims 
of ownership. While the BLM was responsible for land re- 
sources, it had no legal jurisdiction over the horses per se. 
The agency said it "...planned to reach a final decision about 
what to do with the horses by August 1968." 121 


In late March 1968, Rep. William Henry Harrison, R-Wyo. 
asked Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall to "take steps to 
save a herd of wild horses in northern Wyoming threatened 
with being sold at auction." Harrison told Udall the herd of 
mustangs, roaming along the Wyoming-Montana border, was 
"one of the last vestiges of the colorful West." 122 

The Denver Post began to add its own fuel to the fire with 
a March 29 headline, "Pet Food Hunters Aim at Wild Horses." 
In this article, Dante Solari of the Billings BLM office was 
quoted as saying that the bureau was undecided about what 
to do with the horses, but, the UPI release added, "...several 
pet food companies or their representatives have made in- 
quiries of residents about moving into the [Lovell] area." 123 

In April 1968, Senator Gale McGee (D-Wyo.) became in- 
volved. He offered a proposal that a 60-square-mile area of 
the Pryor Mountains be annexed to Bighorn Canyon National 
Recreation Area as a refuge for wild horses. He told the 
press that he had asked Interior Secretary Stewart Udall to 
study his proposal, adding "[The herd] represents a fast di- 
minishing remnant of our past which should, I think, be pre- 
served for that reason alone. But there is also a great poten- 
tial for the local economy and benefit for tourists who could 
be interested in viewing one of the last remaining wild horse 
herds in the west." 124 

The Lovell Chamber of Commerce continued its hard drive, 
strategically using publicity and public officials. They is- 
sued a 13-point fact sheet, explaining their stand on the wild 
horse controversy. In it, the chamber revealed a willingness 
to cut the Pryor Mountain herd down to half, but only to half. 
The chamber also stressed that they favored the reintroduc- 
tion of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep into the area as "...a 
part of the aesthetic history of the past. However, [we] feel 
that it must be proven that the sheep will stay in that limited 
area." While admitting that some of the Pryor Mountain 
wild horses were "deformed, indicating a sign of their wild- 
ness," they noted the existence of "...many fine horses in the 
group," adding, "Their mixed color (many duns) indicate 
the presence of some Spanish blood. Some have lined backs, 
showing a reversion to the primeval horse. Others are of 
mixed blood and thus true feral horses. 125 

" 3 Beverly Robertson, "Lovell Chamber is Pressing to Keep Wild Horse 
Herd in Recreation Area," Casper Star-Tribune, 17 March 1968. 

1 14 "Form Group to Save Wild Horses," Riverton Ranger, 1 8 March 1 968. 

115 "BLM Plans to Trap Wild Horse Herd," Northern Wyoming Daily News, 
19 March 1968. 

116 Mustangs' Fate Still Undecided," Billings Gazette, 19 March 1968. 

117 Thomas, The Wild Horse Controversy, p. 77. 

118 "Wild Horse Issue" (editorial), Casper Star-Tribune, 20 March 1968. 
1 IQ Thomas, The Wild Horse Controversy, p. 77. 

1:0 Dick Gilluly, "Herd of Wild Horses 'Stampedes' BLM Men," Billings 
Gazette, 20 March 1968, p. 7. 

121 Thomas, The Wild Horse Controversy, p. 77. 

122 "WHH Seeks Aid To Save Wild Horse Herd," Wyoming Eagle, 28 March 

123 "Pet Food Firms - Wild Horse Face Threat," Denver Post, 29 March 

124 "McGee Wants Land for Wild Horse Herd," Billings Gazette (Morning 
Edition), 5 April 1968, 13. 

125 "Reduce Wild Horse Herd, Lovell Chamber Urges," Casper Star-Tri- 
bune, 18 April 1968. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Are the Pryor Mountain 
Wild Horses Truly Special? 

Recent DNA analysis (blood typing) of the Pryor 
Mountain wild horses, indicates their close link with 
Spanish Colonial horses. Scientists from both the Uni- 
versity of Kentucky and from Virginia Polytechnic In- 
stitute are convinced, beyond a doubt, that the Pryor 
Mountain horses are an extremely rare genotype that 
deserves careful conservatory and selection measures. 

Charles O. Williamson, a ranger on Pryor Mountain 
during the early part of this century, lent his opinion to 
the matter during the fight to save the Pryor Mountain 
herd. In a statement he wrote for the Lovell Chamber of 
Commerce, ca. 1966, he describes a "little band [sic]" of 
70 horses that stayed to themselves " almost inac- 
cessible box canyons used only by themselves and some 
deer." He related that this "band" was of a different 
class than that of the "...thousands of homesteaders' 
horses which had been turned loose and become wild." 
These were and are, he wrote, "...genuine little Spanish 
horses." This individual proclamation from a close friend 
of the Tilletts was made long before the days of DNA 

Before and since establishment of the PMWHR, oth- 
ers have noticed the unusual phenotypic features of some 
Pryor Mountain horses (such as zebra stripes above the 
knees and hocks) leading to speculation about their Span- 
ish origin. However, it was not until the 1990s that 
genotyping was actually carried out, substantiating this 
link. Their uniqueness sets the Pryor Mountain horses 
apart from the average wild horse herd found on public 
lands. Strangely enough, however, this very distinctive- 
ness also leads to some resentment on the part of certain 
wild horse advocates who consider all wild horses spe- 
cial, regardless of their genetics, and they see the Pryor 
Mountain herd as just another, albeit important, wild 
horse population. 

One thing is clear. DNA analysis has changed the 
perception of most people involved with this herd, bring- 
ing in new issues to ignite controversy. Now, battles are 
being waged over whether or not genetic selection for 
horses, to accentuate distinct Spanish characteristics, 
should take place, to concentrate and "improve" the 
herd's genotype. Some wish to make the range a vast, 
natural arena for Spanish-type horses, while others seek 
as little human interference in this herd as possible. 
Realistically, however, whenever wranglers round up and 
select out certain wild horses for adoption, a conscious 
selection process takes place. "Ranching" the Pryor 
Mountain wild horses, while abhorrent to some factions, 
is highly desirable to others. It is a new value judgement 
that the BLM will have to deal with, in addition to horse 
population control, range monitoring, and Rocky Moun- 
tain bighorn sheep/wild horse competition. 

In mid-May, the Billings Gazette reported that a profes- 
sional range management consultant, a former BLM em- 
ployee named Pat Church, had surveyed the proposed wild 
horse area, estimating that it could support about 1 00 horses 
without causing damage to the range (This translated into 
less than two horses per section.). Church's eye-ball esti- 
mate did not agree with the BLM's range survey of the past 
summer, which determined that the entire range of 30,000 to 
40,000 acres could only support 35 animals, at best. 126 How- 
ever, Charles Most, assistant BLM state director, stated that 
the present herd of about 200 was " danger of malnutri- 
tion if some of them aren't taken out of there." He also 
added that "...inbreeding and the freeing of work horses years 
ago meant the majority of the horses are not typical 
mustangs.. .when they're rounded up we'll be selective about 
saving the ones truest in form." He also noted that BLM was 
planning for a roundup by building a large corral around a 
watering hole in Wyoming, and that use of mechanized equip- 
ment to capture the horses was "against state law." 127 

BLM officials insisted that unless the herd size were re- 
duced, the horses would starve. Dean Bibles said: "Before 
man came, wolves or other predators would have kept the 
herd proportions equal with the ability of the land to feed 
them. That's all we want to do with the horses." 128 

The BLM complained that the "...lack of factual reporting 
on the matter had contributed much to the misunderstand- 
ing...." The problem, they said, had reached an emotional 
pitch and resulted in action to save all the horses, which, if 
successful, would eventually kill them. "We [the BLM] are 
not out to eliminate the horses as many reports have 
charged." 129 

On June 10, Lovell Chamber of Commerce secretary, 
Phyllis Hill, wrote a letter to Billings BLM District Manager 
Dean Bibles regarding sponsorship of the Pryor, Mountain 
wild horse herd. "There is a group of people who have ex- 
pressed a willingness to accept this responsibility awaiting 
the decision of the Bureau of Land Management, in regard 
to the three proposals offered." Hill requested a meeting with 
Bibles and other officials, who would need to be included. 130 
The "Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Association" had been born. 

However, on June 16, 1968, Dean Bibles issued a press 
release entitled "Pryor Mountain Horses Without Sponsor." 
In it, he said: 

While we have been urged to establish a wild horse 'ref- 
uge' in the Pryor Mountains, no group has volunteered to spon- 
sor these horses so far. Because of the requirements of Mon- 
tana livestock law, someone will have to assume responsibil- 

126 "The Wild Horse Dispute" (editorial) Casper-Star Tribune, reprinted 
in the Billings Gazette, 17 May 1968; "How About 100 Horses?" Billings 
Gazette, 11 May 1968,6. 

127 David A. Palmer, "Herd's Fate Tossed Back to BLM," Wyoming State 
Tribune, 22 May 1968,4. 

128 David A. Palmer, '"Reduce Herd Size or They'll Starve,'" Billings 
Gazette (Morning Edition), 28 May 1968, 6. 

129 Ibid. 

130 Phyllis Hill to Dean Bibles, 10 June 1968. BLM-BRA Files. 

Spring 199? 

ity for them. The sponsor would have to acquire the animals 
under the State law and conduct roundups to remove excess 
animals in the future. We would work out a cooperative agree- 
ment with such a sponsor.' 31 

Bibles added that the horses were faced with ultimate star- 
vation, particularly in cases of severe winters or drought con- 
ditions. 132 By June 19, the newspapers were reporting that 
one offer for sponsorship was "...being seriously considered 
by the bureau." This reference was apparently to the newly 
formed Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Association's offer; how- 
ever, a BLM spokesman had said it was "...kind of nebulous 
at this point. 133 However, the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse 
Association was gaining structure and gathering more sup- 
port. Headed by Charles E. ("Chuck") Wagner, with Rev. 
Floyd Schwieger as vice-chairman, and Phyllis Hill as secre- 
tary-treasurer, the group hoped to broaden its membership 
and its clout. 134 

However, on the national level, the issue was also being 
seriously considered; therein lay the destiny of the Pryor 
Mountain herd. The Humane Society of the United States 
(HSUS) was now asking that the roundup of the Pryor Moun- 
tain wild horses be postponed, until an independent study of 
forage and range conditions could be completed. 135 How- 
ever, concurrent with this request, the BLM had begun con- 
structing a corral-type trap at one of the Pryor Mountain herd's 
most frequented watering holes on the Wyoming side of the 
Pryor Mountains — "water trapping" being considered the 
most humane method for capturing the horses. 136 

Two television networks had produced programs on the 
Pryor Mountain wild horse controversy, in mid- July 1968, 
including a feature by Hope Ryden, a writer and producer of 
documentary feature films for ABC television. After this 
spot aired — revealing that the horses were to be rounded up 
in just six weeks — both the network and the BLM were 
buried in mail and telegrams, and deluged with phone calls, 
from an outraged public. However, despite these protests, 
BLM's work on the water trap continued. The BLM felt 
that, at least, some of the horses would have to be removed, 
and they wanted to be prepared. 137 

During the period that Hope Ryden was conducting re- 
search for the ABC television feature on the Pryor Mountain 
wild horses, she became personally, and irrevocably, involved 
with the controversy. Learning that the Pryor Mountain Wild 
Horse Association had offered to sponsor the herd — as early 
as the previous March — Ryden also discovered that na- 
tional BLM Director Boyd Rasmussen was unaware of their 
willingness to take responsibility for the horses. Ryden wrote 
to Rasmussen: 

In March the group addressed letters to the BLM office in 
Billings requesting a BLM definition of their role as sponsors 
in order to form a legal organization consistent with their own 
aims and the aims of the BLM. By June the group had not 
heard from the BLM outside of its regular news bulletin stat- 
ing that no sponsoring group had come forward to indicate 
any interest in a horse refuge. On June 16 the group con- 
fronted the BLM with a plan whereby they would feed all 200 


wild horses in the Pryor Mountains until such time as the 
BLM felt the overgrazing had been corrected. I learned at our 
meeting this week that you in Washington had never been 
told of this offer. 138 

Ryden indicated that she had spoken with Charles Wagner, 
president of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Association, 
telling him that BLM Director Rasmussen was not unaware 
of the existence of his group. Wagner said that the 
organization's offer to feed all the horses still stood, and that 
he would write to the director, describing this plan in detail. 
Ryden also asked Rasmussen for information on BLM's range 
survey, "...on which you base your plan to eliminate horses. 

Apparently no one outside the BLM has ever seen this 
survey or heard any direct quotation from it." 139 "One other 
thing," concluded a polite, but determined, Ryden: "Might I 
suggest that you stop building the traps in that case. The 
building of these costly traps began on July 28 and they are 
nearing completion." 140 Charles Wagner wrote to Rasmussen 
— on newly printed Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Associa- 
tion stationery — confirming the organization's willingness 
to effect "supplemental feeding" of the herd, "...if and when 
necessary during the coming winter months." 141 

With the water trap nearing completion, more individuals 
and organizations joined in the effort to halt BLM's plans 
for removing horses. Hope Ryden, along with Pearl Twyne, 
of the American Horse Protection Association, and Joan Blue, 
of the Animal Welfare Institute, conferred with senators and 
congressmen, asking them to look into the Pryor Mountain 
situation. However, despite all efforts to stop their resolute 
course toward roundup, the BLM continued with its plans to 
gather the horses. 142 

When the public sought information from the BLM, they 
were sent 

131 Dean Bibles, "Pryor Mountain Horses Without Sponsor" (press release). 
Bureau of Land Management, Billings District Office, Billings, Montana, 16 
June 1968. BLM-BRA Files. 

132 Ibid. 

133 "Pryor Horse Herd May Get Sponsor," Billings Gazette (Morning Edi- 
tion), 19 June 1968. 

134 Beverly Robertson, "Lovell Group Wants to Sponsor Horses," Casper 
Star Tribune, 20 June 1968, 13. 

135 "Pryor Horse Herd May Get Sponsor," Billings Gazette (Morning Edi- 
tion), 19 June 1968. 

136 Thomas, The Wild Horse Controversy, 78. 

137 Ibid. 

138 Hope Ryden to Boyd Rasmussen, 8 August 1968. National Archives - 

,3Q Ibid 

140 Ibid. Ryden's letter to Rasmussen was carbon copied to Secretary of 
the Interior Stewart Udall; senators in Wyoming and Montana; Senator Harry 
Byrd of Virginia; the Humane Society of the United States; the Pryor Moun- 
tain Wild Horse Association; the International Society for the Protection of 
Animals; "Wild Horse Annie"; and Representative Walter S. Baring of Ne- 

141 C. E. Wagner to Boyd L. Rasmussen, 9 August 1969. National Ar- 
chives - WHHF. 

142 Those involved included the International Society for the Protection of 
Mustangs and Burros, National Mustang Association, American Horse Pro- 
tection Association, Animal Welfare Institute, International Society for the 
Protection of Animals, and the Humane Society of the United States. Tho- 
mas, The Wild Horse Controversy, 78. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

...ambiguous generalizations and printed flyers, explaining 
that the wild horses in the West are not the romantic mus- 
tangs you read about, but horses released by farmers during 
the late thirties when they made the transition from horses to 
tractors. An accompanying letter explained that a range study 
made by the Bureau of Land Management indicated that the 
Pryor Mountain area was seriously overgrazed and eroded, 
and needed immediate relief from the wild horses that had 
abused it. 143 

Although many people, including several senators, had re- 
quested a copy of BLM's range survey — as had Hope Ryden, 

— it was never forthcoming. Finally, a high official in the 
BLM disclosed that the study was not conducted scientifi- 
cally but had been done by the ocular ("eye-ball") method 
by "competent field men." When this fact came to light, the 
Humane Society of the United States offered to sponsor an 
independent range survey, made by objective, outside range 
scientists, to determine — in an impartial and scientific way 

— the actual range conditions of the Pryor Mountain wild 
horse herd area. The BLM ignored the offer. The BLM's 
"stubborn reluctance" in this matter, and in revealing their 
future plans for horse roundup, began to arouse the suspicion 
of wild horse supporters. Some even suspected that "a deal" 
had been made between the BLM and state agencies in Wyo- 

Primitive type horse markings. Drawing courtesy of Rev. 
Floyd Schwieger 

ming and Montana to remove the Pryor horses. 144 Game and 
fish departments, in both states, were anxious to see Rocky 
Mountain bighorn sheep reintroduced into the area as a 
huntable commodity. The Montana Livestock Commission 
viewed the wild horses as feral "weeds" — nothing more 
than agricultural entities that had simply managed to escape 
the branding iron. 

On August 20, 1968, ranchers in Lovell phoned Ryden to 
reveal that the BLM had completed its corral trap. This meant 
that, in a matter of hours, the Pryor herd could be rounded up 
and disposed of. On the same day, David Dominick, admin- 
istrative assistant to Senator Clifford Hansen of Wyoming, 
sent a letter to BLM Director Rasmussen, in Washington, 
complaining that "...not a single letter of substance to Sena- 
tor Hansen in reply to [his] many policy questions..." had 
been received. Further, Hansen's office had requested a copy 
of BLM's range survey, with no response. Dominick wrote: 
"...we ask that no action be taken with respect to unbranded 
horses in the Pryor Mountains until an independent range 
survey can be conducted and analyzed." 145 

On August 21, Lovell ranchers now informed Ryden that 
an electric eye on the corral trap gate being constructed by 
the BLM was defective, and, while it was being repaired, the 
agency would be thwarted in its efforts to gather the Pryor 
horses. This gave wild horse advocates a "few days' grace" 
— but it was now clear that they must act quickly, and with 
decisiveness.' 46 

The next day, on August 22, the Humane Society of the 
United States, through its general counsel Shaw, Pittman, 
Trowbridge & Madden, sent a registered letter to Secretary 
of the Interior Stewart Udall asking for his assurance that the 
BLM would take no action against the Pryor Mountain wild 
horses "until the Bureau of Land Management [has] made 
public its management plan for all animals in the area." 147 

No reply was received. Five days later, on August 27, 
1968, HSUS sued. Lloyd S. Tillett was their only co-plain- 
tiff. Co-defendants with Secretary Udall were Boyd L. 
Rasmussen, Harold Tysk, and Dean Bibles, all of BLM. 148 

That same day, Murdaugh Stuart Madden appeared before 
District Judge George L. Hart, of the U.S. District Court for 
the District of Columbia, requesting that the court enjoin the 
United States Bureau of Land Management from trapping 
and destroying the Pryor Mountain wild horses. 149 

143 Ryden, America 's Last Wild Horses, 254. 

144 Ibid. 

145 Ibid. 

146 Ibid, p. 255. 

147 Ibid. The letter said, in part: "We do not want to discover next week that 
these horses have been destroyed and are already on their way to the can- 
nery. Thus, it is not unreasonable that we must ask for your assurances by 
noon tomorrow, Friday, August 23, 1968. This lacking, we are presently 
prepared and have no alternative except to seek judicial relief." 

148 Madden, "Wild Mustangs Get Lucky With Choice of Judge," 2. Mad- 
den was from a Washington, D.C., law firm. He filed the complaint for a 
temporary restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunctions in the 
case titled Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) et al. v. Stewart L. 
Udall et al, Civil Action No. 2 1 58-68. 

149 Humane Society v. Udall, Pleadings File, HSUS Files, Washington, 

Spring 199? 

At this hearing, photographs of the completed corral trap 
were presented as evidence of the BLM's unannounced in- 
tention to round up the Pryor Mountain horses. The BLM 
showed photographs of the wild horses and their habitat, to 
demonstrate that the herd was in danger of starvation. How- 
ever, after hearing the case, Judge Hart requested that the 
two BLM officials present (represented by three attorneys 
from the Justice Department) give assurances, under oath, 
that there was no plan to trap or dispose of the Pryor Moun- 
tain horses, and that, if such a plan were devised in the fu- 
ture, it would be formally announced, with sufficient oppor- 
tunity for public input. 150 Everyone's rights were to be pre- 
served. The Judge then denied HSUS's request for a Tem- 
porary Restraining Order against the BLM, on grounds that 
it was "premature," but he left standing HSUS's Complaint 
to prohibit the destruction of the horses — permanently. This 
ruling would enable HSUS to reopen the case at a moment's 
notice, if the BLM again decided to remove the Pryor Moun- 
tain herd. Thus, Judge Hart's decision was considered a com- 
plete victory for wild horse proponents. 151 

Rumors inside the Department of Interior suggested that 
Secretary Udall was "...extremely displeased with the Bu- 
reau of Land Management for flouting the expressed will of 
the horse-loving public." 152 Lloyd Tillett's daughter, Gail 
Tillett Good, related that Udall had angrily said to BLM of- 
ficials, "Don't you Son-of-a-Bitches know better than to ever 
let a situation get like this?" 153 It is not known to what extent 
Udall had been kept informed about the Pryor Mountain wild 
horse controversy. Although attempts had been made by 
congressmen and wild horse protectionists to reach him di- 
rectly, and copies of all correspondence with the BLM had 
been forwarded to him, replies indicated that mail on this 
subject had been diverted back to the BLM. Now, however, 
Udall took full command, publicly announcing his Secre- 
tarial Order that the Pryor Mountain wild horse area would, 
henceforth, be designated the "Pryor Mountain Wild Horse 
Range." 154 

Legally carved from isolated mountain forests and range- 
lands traversing the Montana- Wyoming border, this 32,000- 
acre refuge — for a wild horse herd that had created such 
discussion and rancor for more than 30 years — was estab- 
lished in a flash on Bureau of Land Management and Na- 
tional Park Service lands. The order read: "I hereby desig- 
nate the public lands in the following described area as the 
Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range and establish the rules of 
management of said Range... Subject to valid existing rights 
the area will be primarily administered for the protection 
and management of wild horses, wildlife, watershed, recre- 
ation, archeological, and scenic values." 155 

Close public scrutiny, the eyes of the judicial system, and 
now — it seemed — the federal government itself, would 
protect these little bands of wild horses roaming free in the 
Pryor Mountains and on the parched rangelands of the Big 
Horn Basin. However, wild horse advocates would not cel- 
ebrate their hard-won victory for long, before the next major 
controversy would arise over how many horses should be 


allowed on the new federal wild horse range. This, and nu- 
merous other battles were to be waged in the months and 
throughout the years to come — skirmishes strangely remi- 
niscent of the original imbroglio, with the same issues re- 
peatedly resurfacing, like old family quarrels that never seem 
to get settled. "You can't put a fox in charge of the chicken 
house or you won't have any chickens," lamented Lloyd 
Tillett, 27 years after the range was established. 156 

Nevertheless, the descendants of the wild horses that 
greeted young Bessie Strong and her father, when they 
reached the Big Horn Basin in the late nineteenth century, 
would have more seasons under the sun, to transmit their 
genes to generations of Pryor Mountain mustangs yet un- 
born. This fight to save a memory had not only been victo- 
rious, it had, in a highly public manner, set an important 
precedent for wild horse protection on the public lands of the 
American West. A broader war between wild horse propo- 
nents and anti-wild horse factions would continue to wage 
on — to this very day — with little hope of complete resolu- 
tion. However, in the autumn of 1968, when nights were 
just beginning to bring hard frost to the mountain meadows 
and sagebrush-dotted rangelands of northern Wyoming and 
southern Montana, the Pryor Mountain wild horses had been 
granted life, dignity, and freedom. They would survive. 

150 Madden later recalled: "Keeping in mind that this case involved the 
proposed rounding up and destruction of these animals, the government at- 
torneys were, to say the least, chagrined to enter the chambers of Judge George 
Hart and see upon his large desk a bronze statue of a wild mustang pawing 
the air. It appeared that one of his main interests and hobbies was the Old 
West, its history and symbolism. Needless to say, I had little trouble convinc- 
ing this Judge that it would be a terrible tragedy to have these magnificent 
descendants of the horses brought here by the Spanish Conquistadores trapped 
and destroyed, and within 30 minutes the government attorneys assured the 
court that they had no such intention, and that even if they did, they didn't 
any longer. That herd still runs free today in Wyoming." 

151 Ryden, America 's Last Wild Horses, 255, 256. 

152 Ibid, 256. 

153 Interview with Gail Tillett Good, Lovell, Wyoming, 28 August 1993. 
1 Ryden, America 's Last Wild Horses, p. 256. 

1 The order, signed by Secretary Udall on September 9, 1 968, was pub- 
lished on September 12, 1968. Federal Register, Vol. 33, No. 1 78. 

""Interview with Lloyd Tillett, Tillett Ranch, Lovell, 29 October 1994. 

Patricia Mabee Fazio, a native of New York, received 
the B.S. degree in agriculture from Cornell Univer- 
sity in 1964. After graduate study at the University of 
Vermont, she returned to Cornell where she worked 
for more than a decade as a research technician and 
herbarium curator. She came to Wyoming in 1977 and 
earned the M.S. degree in recreation and park ad- 
ministration in 1982 from the University of Wyoming. 
In 1995, she was granted the Ph.D. degree from Texas 
A&M University. This article is adapted from a por- 
tion of Dr. Fazio's dissertation titled "The Fight to 
Save a Memory: Creation of the Pryor Mountain Wild 
Horse Range (1968) and Evolving Federal Wild Horse 
Protection through 1971. " 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

Recent Acquisitions in the Hebard Collection, UW Libraries 

Compiled by Tamsen L. Hert, UW Libraries 

The Grace Raymond Hebard Wyoming Collection is a branch of the University of Wyoming Libraries housed in the 
Owen Wister Western Writers Reading Room in the American Heritage Center. Primarily a research collection, the core 
of this collection is Miss Hebard's personal library which was donated to the university libraries. Further donations have 
been significant in the development of this collection. While it is easy to identify materials about Wyoming published 
by nationally known publishers, it can be difficult to locate pertinent publications printed in Wyoming. The Hebard 
Collection is considered the most comprehensive collection on Wyoming in the state. 

If you have any questions about these materials or the Hebard Collection, contact Tamsen Hert by phone at (307) 766- 
6245; by email, or access the Hebard HomePage at: 

New Publications 

Barnes, Christine. Great Lodges of the West. Bend, OR: 
W.W. West, Inc., 1997 Hebard & CoeNA 7840 .B376 1997 

The Black Hills Journals of Colonel Richard Irving 
Dodge. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996. 
Hebard & Coe F 657 .B6 D63 1996 

Graham, Kenneth Lee. Rockhounding Wyoming. 
Helena, MT: Falcon Press Publishing Co., Inc., 1996. 
Hebard & Geo QE 445 .W8 G7 1996 

Hardesty, Donald L. The Archaeology of the Donner Party. 
Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1997. 
Hebard & Coe F 868 .T2 H27 1997 

Hoadley, Dr. Joe. The Homestead Doctor. Story, WY: 
Dr. Joseph E. Hoadley, M.D., 1995. 
Hebard & Coe F 767 .CI 6 H62 1995 

Kemsley, Kathleen R. Places of Power: A Decade of 
Living in National Parks. Fowlerville, Michigan: Wilder- 
ness Adventure Books, 1991. Hebard & Science SB 481.6 
.K46 A3 1991 

Leaning Into the Wind: Women Write From the Heart of 
the West. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. 
Hebard & Coe F 596 .IA8 1997 

Moulton, Candy. The Grand Encampment: Settling the High 
Country. Glendo, WY: High Plains Press, 1997. 
Hebard & Coe F 769 .E53 M68 1997 

Nisbet, Jack. Sources of the River: Tracking David 
Thompson Across Western North America. Seattle: 
Sasquatch Books, 1994. 
Hebard & Coe F 1060.7 .T48 N57 1994 

Saunders, Richard L. Glimpses of Wonderland: The 
Haynes and Their Postcards of Yellowstone National 
Park. Bozeman, MT: Richard L. Saunders, 1997. 
Hebard & Coe F 722.S286 1997 

Sweet Medicine: Sites of Indian Massacres, Battlefields, 
and Treaties. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 
1995. Hebard & Coe F 81 .B7 1995 

Tippets, Susan Thomas (comp.) Piedmont, Uinta 
County, Wyoming Ghost Town. 1995. 
Hebard & Coe F 769 P38 P5 1995 

Wiles, Gary & Delores Brown. Behold the Shining 
Mountains. Laguna Niguel, CA:Photosensitive, 1996. 
Hebard & Coe PS 3573.14292 B45 1996 

Older Titles 

Cromwell, Arthur (comp.) The Black Frontier. 
Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Television, 1970. 
Hebard E 185.925 .C7 

Fort Bridger Tour: Guide Script, : Oregon-California 
Trails Association, I Oth Annual Convention, Rock 
Springs, Wyoming. [Oregon-California Trails Associa- 
tion, 1992?] Hebard & Coe F 767.094 F678 1992. 

Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 's Proposed Gift of Land for 
the National Park System in Wyoming: History of the 
Snake River Land Company and of the Efforts to Preserve 
the Jackson Hole Country for the Nation. Jackson: 
Snake River Land Company, 1933. 
Hebard and Coe F 767 .T3 M6 1933 

Pence, Mary Lou. Boswell, the Story of a Frontier 
Lawman. Laramie: Mary Lou Pence, 1978. 
Hebard & Coe F 761 .B68 P46 

South Pass Tour: Guide Script, Oregon-California Trails 
Association I Oth Annual Convention, Rock Springs. 
[Oregon-California Trails Association, 1992?]. 
Hebard & Coe F 767.094 S688 1992 

Government Publications 

Mormon Pioneer Trail: a Highway Guide to Wyoming. 
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, 
National Park Service, 1995. Hebard & Docs I 53.7/2: M 
82 c. 2 

Winter Use Plan Environmental Assessment: Yellowstone 
and Grand Teton National Parks and John D. 
Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway. Washington: NPS, 
1990. Hebard & Docs I 1.98:Y 3/2 


"Enjoying Christmas." Charles Belden collection, American Heritage Center 

Published this year by the American Heritage Center in cooperation with the Wyoming 
State Historical Society, the calendar takes a month-to-month look at Wyoming through 
more than a dozen stunning photographs drawn from the American Heritage Center 
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every day of the year. 

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i* n. 

ii ■ 

flie Wyoming History Journal 
Summer 1997 Vol. 69, No. 3 



m Wm 



3~" h &3 I85Z. 

r h i * S3 

About the Cover Art 

"View from the Entrance of Devils Gate, June 3, 1852" 

The cover painting is a watercolor done by Cyrenius Hall (b. 1830, date of death 
unknown) while he was en route west on the Oregon Trail. Hall is said to have 
studied in Europe and painted in Canada and South America as well as in the Ameri- 
can West. Some sources indicate he also painted in New York, Chicago, and the 
Pacific Northwest. His best known painting is a portrait of Chief Joseph, held in the 
collections of the National Portrait Gallery , Smithsonian Institution. The cover paint- 
ing is one of 40 small watercolors and drawings held in the collections of the Divi- 
sion of Cultural Resources, State Department of Commerce, Cheyenne. 

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nals of 


The Wyoming History Journal 

1997 Vol. 69, No. 3 

VCyotmng JVLemories 

Jewish Agricultural Society Experiment in 
Eastern Wyoming, 1906-1918 

By Sally Vanderpoel 2 

Lucinda A. Wright: Pioneer Wife and Mother, 1806-1853 

By Reg. P. Dufrin 11 

Cheapness ana Durability: The Search for Appropriate 
Building Materials in the Department of the Platte, 


By Alison K. Hoagland and Kevin O'Dell 16 

Loving Cecile: 
The Strange Case of Stanley Lantzer 

By Carol Lee Bowers 28 

Booh Reviews 

Edited ty Carl HallLerg 42 

Recent Acquisitions in the Hebard Collection, \JW Libraries 

Compiled by Tamsen L. Hert 48 

"Wyoming Pictures Inside Back 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal is published quarterly by the Wyoming 
State Historical Society in association with the Wyoming Department of Commerce, the 
American Heritage Center, and the Department of History. University of Wyoming. The 
journal was previously published as the Quarterly Bulletin (1923-1925). Annals of Wyoming 
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Range Blvd., Cheyenne WY 82009. 

Copyright 1997, Wyoming State Historical Society 

ISSN: 1086-7368 

y ommg j *±e mones 

Harry Fieldman homestead at Allen, Goshen County, c. 1913 

Jewish Agricultural Society Experiment 
in Eastern Wyoming, 1906-1918 

by Sally Vanderpoel 

When my parents arrived on their homestead in east- 
ern Goshen County, Wyoming, in March 1922 they 
were aware of the people who had preceded them... the 
DeBrots, Yocums and Mortons were their neighbors. 
A few Jews had remained on their homesteads, but on 
first acquaintance they seemed like all the others. If 
my parents thought of them first as Jews, I never heard 
it. The story of their earlier pioneering effort was fi- 
nally told and distinguished them from the World War 
veterans who made up the rest of the population around 
the village of Huntley. They didn't emphasize the folly 
and suffering they had endured on first arriving in the 
region nearly two decades earlier. 

This open, short grass prairie land was largely with- 
out population when the World War I veterans were 
allowed to homestead the newly opened irrigation 

project in 1 92 1 - 1 922. While it is certain that the native 
Americans had roamed the area as the very earliest resi- 
dents it is interesting that no evidence of them was ever 
found on our homestead. Neighbors found arrowheads 
but none were ever found on our grassy knoll. Great 
cattle ranches had pastured their cattle before the turn 
of the century throughout the entire area... the round- 
up corral a few miles from our homestead was still in 
evidence in 1922 on the Jay-Penns road, the byway 
from Cheyenne to Deadwood. The very earliest expe- 
rience by Alexander Majors wintering over his foot- 
sore oxen in 1854-1855 probably provided some for- 
age in the area of Huntley and Hawk Springs. 1 

1 T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming. (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1965), 164. 

Summer 1997 

My mother told me that she knew the Jewish syna- 
gogue had been a mile west of our homestead but it 
wasn't used when they arrived. In fact, it had already 
deteriorated into a kind of modest ruin. It was nothing 
that could be memorialized as the Coliseum in Rome 
or the ruins in Athens have been. Of course, the lifespan 
of this structure was just part of one generation as con- 
trasted with the millennia of Rome and Greece. When 
my parents arrived they didn't know why most of the 
Jews were gone. Mother told me she guessed it was 
poverty or maybe they weren't welcome even in Wyo- 
ming. She didn't think that was true. All kinds of people 
were among the veteran homesteaders which provided 
lessons in tolerance and understanding. The largest 
number of the Jewish pioneers were gone by 1918. 
Their experiment had lasted about a dozen years. Our 
neighbor, Frank Fieldman, had taken over his parents' 
homestead the year my family came to Huntley. The 
last of the Jewish homesteaders, he lived there until 

1942 when an accident with a bull broke his back and 
he moved to Cheyenne. I have been fortunate enough 
to find a short account of the Jewish experiment writ- 
ten by Frank Fieldman a month before he died in 1968. 
The background for their saga starts with the origi- 
nal reclamation project designed late in the last cen- 
tury to irrigate eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska 
from water stored in the Pathfinder Dam and diverted 
from the North Platte River, as it is now, by a small 
dam at Whalen just west of Fort Laramie National His- 
toric Site. 2 The Pathfinder dam was under construc- 
tion but not completed at the time of this present story. 
The first forty-five miles of the Interstate Canal on the 
north side of the river was completed and water turned 
into it in May, 1906. It must have been the advance 
publicity about this canal that brought the Jewish Ag- 

2 Larson, 356. The Pathfinder Dam on the North Platte River 
was under permit February 1905, but not actually completed un- 
til 1911. 

The Fieldman family displaying produce in front of homestead shack. Frank is on the right. Next to him are 
his mother, father, sister Sarah. The woman with the baby is unidentified but possibly Mrs. Mendelsohn. 

Annals of Wyoming:Tne Wyoming History Journal 

ricultural Society to eastern Wyoming. From New York 
and Pittsburgh the true facts about where a canal actu- 
ally was planned and what it would irrigate must have 
been hard to confirm. There is still little recorded his- 
tory of this region of Wyoming or its least permanent 
efforts at civilization which also could have added to 
their lack of information. The maps they consulted re- 
vealed to them the arid, desert-like quality of the area. 
Some maps until the mid-twentieth century labeled east- 
ern Wyoming and the states surrounding it "The Great 
American Desert." However, that canal was not de- 

signed to irrigate land south of the North Platte River. 
Nonetheless, south of the river was the chosen site for 
the Jewish "New Zion" in 1906. The Jewish experi- 
menters were to find none of the promised irrigation 
on their land. 

The Huntley story is representative of the story of 
Jews throughout history... a people often failing, some- 
times succeeding at survival in hostile environments. 
Sociologists can and have analyzed the effects of hard- 
ship on this and other ethnic groups without an appre- 
ciable explanation for the adaptability of some and the 
inflexibility of others. 

As history records, Jews lived in every part of 
the civilized world, usually in isolation, always 
dreaming of a homeland. The sponsoring orga- 
nization for the Goshen County experiment (at 
the time of the Jewish experiment it was still 
part of Laramie County) the Jewish Agricultural 
Society, had a forerunner in Czarist Russia in 
the nineteenth century. Russian authorities gave 
Jews permission to start a settlement in Siberia, 
an area largely unoccupied at the time. Later 
when that land came to have some value, the 
non- Jewish community took it over and the 
colony was forced to leave. A reader might rec- 
ognize this as the story preserved by the musical 
Fiddler on the Roof. By the turn of the century 
the hope for such a colony had centered on the 
American West. As early as the 1 870s stories of 

Harry Fieldman pictured with corn (left) and with various produce from his Goshen County homestead, 
c. 1913. Photos courtesy of Victoria Piscitello, the granddaughter of Harry Fieldman. 

Summer 1997 

Wyoming and other areas of the west were published 
"back east" by travelers. In 1876 Dr. Max Lilienthal, 
author and reform rabbi, traveled to California by train. 
He described Wyoming territory as "a tedious ride... it 
is an awful monotony relieved at last by the sight of 
the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills [foothills be- 
tween Cheyenne and Laramie]..." 3 His account could 
hardly have been a recommendation for Jewish agri- 
cultural experiments. Still, twenty-five years later 
Wyoming was the focus for the enterprise. 

The Jewish Information Center in New York City 
found about fifty families willing to relocate. 4 The Jews 
who came to Wyoming were as diverse as the World 
War I veterans who homesteaded a generation later. 
They came from several parts of the United States — 
some were new immigrants from Europe, Poland, Rus- 
sia and Romania; others were native born, from Penn- 
sylvania, New York and other states but had believed 
there could be prosperity in a new land. There prob- 
ably were language differences, except for the com- 
mon usage of Hebrew or Yiddish. 

The dream of a Jewish homeland which had persisted 
throughout history since the time of Christ, was re- 
kindled in cities to the east, and disenchantment oc- 
curred on the bare Wyoming plains. The advertising 
implied that the region lacked only population and hard 
work for it to become productive, just as was promised 
to the war veterans who arrived later. In 1906, follow- 
ing the Reclamation Act of 1902, the new Zion enter- 
prise had been established, resettling Jewish families 
hoping for permanent home outside the ghettos which 
had often been their homes in many countries. The ef- 
fort was doomed to failure. The average precipitation 
was purported to be 31.5 inches by the Reclamation 
Service, later to be known as the Bureau of Reclama- 
tion, based apparently upon very little direct observa- 
tion. West of the 100th Meridian the normal average 
precipitation is less than 20 inches... usually much less. 
This fact had been known and described as long before 
1 906 as the travels of Zebulon Pike and Major Stephen 
Long. 5 

A theory had been put forward, believed as truth by 
many, that "rain follows the plow " There were those 
who swore that Colorado had experienced an increase 
in rainfall after trees were planted, roads constructed 
and towns built up by Horace Greeley's believers in 
the late 1870s. Moisture did increase in an unexplain- 
able but real way during the first few years of that ex- 
periment. But soon the Colorado plains became as dry 
as they had been before settlement. An early publica- 
tion by Frederick Goddard said the Laramie Plains of 

Wyoming were "as ready today for the plow and spade 
as the fertile prairies of Illinois." 6 This myth was pro- 
moted by the railroads and by the government of the 
United States, influenced, no doubt by the long cru- 
sade of many, like Horace Greeley, who believed that 
westward lay the hope of the country. All these pro- 
motions subscribed to the belief in the manifest des- 
tiny of the entire continent... it should be conquered 
and populated. The theory that rain follows the plow 
was refuted as early as the drought of 1888-1890. In 
July, 1888, at Bennett, Colorado, the temperature went 
as high as 1 1 8 degrees. 7 Those conditions have not been 
officially repeated to such an extreme since that time. 
Evidence does not indicate an increase in moisture when 
populations increase in an arid climate. The green house 
effect which alarms so many at this time could have 
been touted at the time of the 1 9th century drought had 
CO 2 and methane emissions been known at the time. 
While the general public believed the states west of the 
100th meridian to be habitable with adequate mois- 
ture, all the records indicate otherwise. John Wesley 
Powell believed otherwise and wrote extensively in an 
attempt to refute the misconception. 

In all fifty-six Jewish families were the early pio- 
neers at what would become Huntley. The news of the 
civilization of the western plains was as hot an item at 
the turn of the century as it had been a generation be- 
fore with the Horace Greeley/Colorado experiment. 8 

Frank Morris Fieldman recorded the experience of 
his parents, Harry and Rose Hacker Fieldman. Harry's 
first effort at escape followed his service in the Roma- 
nian army from which he was absent without leave. 
Earlier, his corporal's stripes had been stripped from 
him in a public ceremony when a new policy was imple- 
mented refusing advancement to either commissioned 

3 Quoted in Carl V. Hallberg, "Jews in Wyoming," Annals of 
Wyoming 61, (Spring, 1989), 13. 

4 Hallberg, 18-19; American Israelite, 2 June 1876, 5. 

5 Marc Reisner, Cadillac Desert. (New York: Penguin Books, 
1986), 20, 40. "Zebulon Pike saw 'tracts of many leagues... where 
not a speck of vegetable matter existed. ..Major Stephen Long, 
who followed Pike a decade later, referred to the whole territory 
as 'The Great American Desert..."' 1 

6 Ibid., 40, quoting from Goddard's book. Where to Emigrate 
and Why. 

7 Interview with Sandra Hansen, 14 June 1990. Hansen, a former 
resident of Colorado in the 1970s and presently editor of the 
Torrington Telegram, said that where she lived at Crook, Colo- 
rado, the temperature on her ranch thermometer one summer day 
read "125 degrees." 

* Donald Worster, Rivers of Empire. (New York: Pantheon, 
1985), 83-85; 93-95. 

Annals of Wyoming :The Wyoming History Jc 

or non-commissioned rank for all Jews. After he had 
walked from Jassy, Romania, to a port in France, he 
and a few companions were captured and returned to 
their original home. 

Later, Harry and Rose escaped successfully, on foot, 
from Romania. In the next year or so Harry and Rose 
were married and Frank was born. When they made 
the second long walk, Frank must have been carried as 
an infant when his family and "another party of Jews" 
made the successful escape from eastern Europe. They 
were able to leave France through the patronage of 

French Baron Von Rothschild, the entrepreneur and 
millionaire. 9 They landed in New York in the spring of 
1900. Harry Fieldman worked as a dishwasher and then 
at his profession, baker. 

The Fieldmans had been in Pittsburgh, Pennsylva- 
nia, for four years when they heard of the opportunity 
to become land owners of 160 acres of land simply for 
living on it for five years. 10 Harry and several others 
sent Sam Paris out to look over the country and report 
on the conditions of those lands. 11 
In June 1 906 six men, some with families to follow 
later, set out for what 
Fieldman called "the 
wild and woolly West." 
They arrived after a 
long train ride near the 
end of the line at 
Mitchell, Nebraska. 
Mitchell was a new 
town, on the CB & Q 
railroad, without hotels, 
but it did have several 
saloons, a general store 
and several livery 
stables. They arrived 
after dark. Unable to 
find suitable accommo- 
dations, they bedded 
down in a livery stable. 
The next day they went 

" While this Rothschild 
was not identified in 
Fieldman's notes, my re- 
search has made me believe 
it was probably Edmond 
James von Rothschild 
(1845-1934). Microsoft 
Encarta '95. 

10 This promise was twice 
the acreage of that of the 
later World War I veteran 
homesteaders. The time al- 
lowed was longer than the 
three years "proving up" re- 
quired of veterans. 

11 Copies of Paris' report 
apparently no longer exist. 
As I have researched this 
saga I have wondered what 
kind of report Sam made to 
those back home. 

Jewish homesteaders at Allen (Huntley), Goshen County, 1913. Frank Morris 
Fieldman (left) and Harry Fieldman (right) on the hay stacks; Sarah Fieldman with 
the dog and Mrs. Harry Fieldman (right). The woman and baby may be the 
Mendelsohns. Photo courtesy of Victoria Piscitello. 

Summer 199? 

to their destination south and west of Mitchell 
across the North Platte river, about twenty- 
odd miles. They camped on the ranch of p 
Clarence Jones who agreed to take them the 
90 miles south to Cheyenne where they could ^"g^J 
file claims on the land. Those filings were PS**™* 
recorded July 6, 1906. The historic six were k _ 
Sam Paris, Harry Fieldman, a man named ^ 5 " 
Padolosky and his son "who was old enough 
to homestead himself," Himan Simon, Harry 
Rinder and Simon Silverstein.Families of all 
except Silverstein's followed in the same 
year. 12 

Jay Yocum remembered a number of his 
Jewish neighbors well and knew what had 
happened to some of them. Yocum and his 
bride, Maude, had purchased a farm from a 
departing Jewish family. The Yocums were 
not considered "true" homesteaders. He had 
finished high school in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, 
before becoming an established resident in 1921 be- 
fore the World War veterans began to arrive in 1922. 
When I spoke with him in May, 1990, he was 93 years 
old, living on his farm alone. He said, "I came up in 
'21. We bought this place in '21 from a fella--oh, I 
ought have known you'd ask that question~a Jew, had 
homesteaded." 13 

The scarcity of wood, and lack of money, forced the 
families to make semi-dugout shelters. The "length and 
width was dug into the side of a hill; the sides and front 
were finished with rock and mud (there was no such 
thing as cement at that time); there were dirt floors; 
and mud plastered on the insides and outsides." 14 In 
Goshen County today, there are exposed areas of the 
native bedrock which can be broken into paver size 
shapes that must be what they used for construction. 
Fieldman said rocks were hauled on wooden sleds 
sometimes several miles to the site of the homestead. 
This dugout was then roofed over. "Regardless of their 
primitive design, they were warm and comfortable," 
Fieldman's story says. There were no trees. ..the roof- 
ing could not have been made of limbs. 15 They had the 
advantage of solar heat in the winter with this orienta- 
tion — a practice that was to become a fad two thirds 
of a century later. 

As I rode my horse in the neighborhood as a girl I 
noticed a structure which my dad identified as "one of 
the old Jews dugouts." By the time I studied it there 
had been doors, similar to garage doors fitted to the 
front. I think it was used for storage of machinery by 
the later farmer. Mr. Yocum showed me the site of the 
Fieldman dugout just a little north of his home. There 

Map showing location of Allen (Huntley) settlement 

was a remnant of some kind of entrance, a beam across 
what must have been the front of the structure. Eighty 
or more years of abandonment and irrigation water 
draining through and over the space had collapsed 
whatever was inside. 

Their worst inconvenience was the lack of water. 
Horse Creek and the Katzer drain were the nearest water 

12 Frank Morris Fieldman, Jewish Settlement of Huntley, Wyo- 
ming, unpublished handwritten manuscript, 12 January 1968. 
Fieldman died of a sudden heart attack, in Cheyenne, in Febru- 
ary, 1968, as he was going through a trunk seeking pictures of the 
old school at Allen and the homesteaders. He was 68. Fieldman's 
daughter, Victoria Piscitello, has said that the name is "Feldman" 
on all passports and citizenship papers. However, after 1 926, all 
family records spell the name "Fieldman." Jay Yocum, a neigh- 
bor of Fieldman's, told me in an interview in June 1990 that the 
name was pronounced "Feldman." Other people, including my 
parents, pronounced it as spelled. 

13 Interview with Jay Yocum, May 1990. In the courthouse I 
discovered that Yocum had bought his farm from a relative who 
had bought it from a Mrs. Williams. The County records do not 
indicate the Jewish Agricultural Society except for a nearby par- 
cel of land. The deputy clerk informed me that all records from 
the former Laramie County were sent to Goshen County when it 
was established, but the Goshen records for that particular area 
only go back to 1913. Yocum celebrated his 101st birthday at the 
senior center in Lyman, Neb., about five miles from his farm 
where he lives alone. His neighbor, Chris Foland, takes him there 
for lunch each weekday and friends take him to church on Sun- 
day. He manages other meals for himself and enjoys life and re- 

14 Fieldman, 2. 

15 Fieldman omits information about the solution to this prob- 
lem. I have indulged in some speculation, as possibly Frank 
Fieldman did, he was probably a child of seven or eight at the 
time of his parents' homesteading. 

Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

sources. Horse Creek was three miles distant from the 
closest homestead. 16 The Jewish Agricultural Society 
had arranged for particular parcels of land. It is docu- 
mented by records of the JAS, which must have had 
little consideration for sources of water. 

An interesting aspect of Horse Creek and other small 
creeks, rare as they are, is the there was no growth of 
trees, or even shrubs on its banks. In low lying, pro- 
tected areas between its source near Cheyenne and its 
mouth five miles east of my parents' homestead on the 
North Platte River there are only a few stunted willows 
and chokecherry bushes even now. No one has ever 
explained to me why Horse Creek did not support trees 
along its banks. Like my mother I have guessed at facts. 
It is possible that the large herds of bison had prevented 
tree growth or that seeds of plants native to higher alti- 
tudes borne from the rising of Horse Creek were not 
suitable for growing at 4,000 feet. 

At the northern end of the settlement where they built 
their school/synagogue, water was available in the 
Katzer canal about a half-mile away in a small valley. 
Those two small streams provided the only natural water 
supply, other than the North Platte River some ten miles 
or more to the north and over a hilly rise. Water was 
carried in buckets for all family use and to try to keep 
garden plants alive in the heat of June and July, before 
they succumbed in August. In the winter, snow was 
melted—when there was snow. The dry climate lacks 
snow as well as rain. Barrels were placed under eaves 
to catch melt in winter and rain in summer. In the fields, 
which they attempted to cultivate, small dams were 
built to try to retain any water from the infrequent rains. 

Finally, in 1907 or 1908 the Jewish Agricultural So- 
ciety of New York City sent about $500 to each family 
to assist with establishing themselves. With this money 
they were able to buy some horses and wagons and 
other machinery, a cow or two, and hand tools. 

It is impossible to imagine the hardship of those six 
families the first two years. Frank Fieldman's narra- 
tive says Harry Fieldman walked to Mitchell to get nec- 
essary supplies, carrying them back in a knapsack on 
his back. No doubt the other men did, too. It is only 
recorded that Fieldman obtained flour, sugar, beans, 
rice and salt in this way. The torment of planting a 
crop, in land scraped by hand during the deceptively 
pleasant damp spring, to see it shrivel and die in the 
sun of July and August without a drop of water, can 
only be supposed. 

Yocum related an experience which may have been 
used by the Jewish settlers, too, although there is no 
documentation of it. 

One thing that might be interesting, not too many 
people know about a drift fence. Well, the ranchers- 
the Two Bar used to own the Packers ranch down here. 
As the story goes in a storm, blizzard, the cattle would 
drift, Their home office was in Chugwater. They leased 
all this land here, just a 40 here and a 40 there, just 
enough so if a homesteader came in here, he had to 
have a fence~a good tight-posts a rod apart and four 
wires. So that drift fence, some of those old cedar posts, 
some of them are there yet. I think I could find a few 
of them on the Johnson farm over here. They went 
through the Daugherty farm and right on north. Kellums 
had built on that fence, right over Table Mountain. 
The Daughertys remembered taking some of those posts 
out and using them for their own fence. They would 
come down and find their cows and drive them back.. 
I've heard this and it might not be true but if they got 
over into Nebraska, they had to pay $25 a head to get 
'em back. Sometimes they never got 'em back. They 
were just butchered or sold. That was quite a fence 
there. 17 

Yocum said he never butchered any cattle but he did 
catch and use the horses when he needed them. After 
he was through working or riding the horses he caught 
in his corral, he just turned them loose on the range 
again. 18 

Although it was not documented, it seems possible 
that hard-up Jewish settlers had found a few meals con- 
veniently walking around near their dugouts. No records 
indicate anything but upstanding citizenship among the 
Jewish populace. 

Summer days must have been mitigated by the cool- 
ness of the dugout, snug in its bank of earth, with the 
sod growing on its roof parching in the heat. Chores 
would still have needed to be done, animals cared for, 
gardens tended, water carried from Horse Creek or 
Katzer' s drain whether summer or winter, hot or cold. 

Encouraged by the grant from the Jewish Agricul- 
tural Society about 40-45 other families migrated to 
Wyoming in 1908. They established a school, located 
one mile east of the present school buildings at Hunt- 
ley. The small community was known as Allen. The 
synagogue near our homestead was four miles from 

The Jewish Agricultural Society may have been vic- 
tims of misrepresentation. By 1906 the Pathfinder Dam 
on the upper North Platte was under construction and 
some limited irrigation was possible by May, 1906, 

16 My research has not disclosed why there was this limitation. 

17 Yocum interview. 

18 Ibid. 


when water was actually turned into 45 miles of the 
Interstate Canal on the north side of the river. Early 
transients at what was to be Torrington had benefited 
by the jobs offered by the construction of the canal 
which would be of no use or comfort to residents south 
of the river. 19 

By 1912, when it was recognized that the Wyoming 
farmers were no better off than they had been five years 
before, the JAS was combined with a Chicago society, 
the Jewish Agriculturists' Aid Society, in an effort to 
provide more support. Irrigation water, long expected, 
had not arrived. Query concerning the construction of 
dams and canals received a reply from Samuel Adams 
of the Department of Interior: 

It is noted that you are interested in a settlement of 
Jewish farmers within this area. It, therefore, may be 
appropriate to call attention to the fact that extreme 
care should be used in encouraging developments 
which are dependent upon the building of this [Fort 
Laramie Canal] or any other canal until the work is 
actually constructed. ... the Department cannot afford 
to be put in the position of in any way encouraging 
risks of this kind. In all past history, both of private 
and public enterprises, it has been shown that they are 
inseparably connected with disappointment as to the 
time of completion. 20 

By the time the government decided to establish vet- 
erans of World War I in a colony at the same spot where 
the ill-fated Jewish settlement had been, the greatest 
number of Jews had returned to greener fields. One or 
two families remained. Pete Keenan, one of the vet 
homesteaders, a Catholic, received the blessing of a 
rabbi in Cheyenne to serve as a kosher butcher for the 
small population. Pete's appointment was made nec- 
essary by the departure of the Jewish butcher after he 
had discarded hot ashes which caused a large burn of 
considerable acreage of the short grass prairie. Keenan's 
stories of the difficulty of complying with the religious 
restrictions for butchering were entertainment for those 
among the World War I veteran homesteaders outside 
the religion. 21 

The general topography of the region, outside the 
river valley, was slightly rolling-well suited for straight 
down-hill gravity irrigation. The water, if it ever ar- 
rived, was to move from upstream across the highest 
points south of the actual river valley in a large canal. 
Smaller canals would lead from it, still remaining as 
high as possible, until eventually the water would be 
distributed through a series of smaller and smaller ca- 
nals and finally to laterals into fields. 

The reclamation project, which would be built at 
Guernsey Dam on the North Platte River, was designed 
to provide hydroelectric power. It also controlled the 
floods which had characterized the river for thousands 
of years. In the time of the pioneer trails to Oregon, 
Utah or California, the lower valley of the river had to 
be avoided for travel because in spring, the river spread 
out over the valley widening it to an area five, six or 
more miles across. It was occasionally swollen even 
further by sudden heavy rains up river. It was the same 
situation as the phrase later made popular about an- 
other Wyoming river, the Powder River— "a mile wide 
and an inch deep." Just as in the Nile valley in Egypt, 
rich top soil was deposited in the valley by receding 
waters. As a consequence of the millennia of these an- 
nual floods and deposits, the actual valley of the North 
Platte rivals that of the Tigris and Euphrates—and the 
Nile—for fertility and productivity. The asset has served 
the irrigated farming of eastern Wyoming through sev- 
eral generations now. Its only limiting factor is the short 
growing season caused by the altitude of 4000 feet 
above sea level and the dry climate. The ruts which are 
shown so frequently in brochures and historical refer- 
ences as examples of the Oregon Trail demonstrate how 
high above the river it was necessary to travel to avoid 
the spring floods. 

The land the Jews were allowed to occupy had never 
supported any growth except short grass prairie. It had 
not the fertility of the level land over the hill nearer the 
river. Any sedimentation in that area had been from 
the vast inland sea millions of years before. Much of 
the soil in the vicinity of Huntley is designated "rose- 
bud loam," another example of ignorance or dissem- 
bling by government agents. It is usually the consis- 
tency of pot clay when wet and always alkaline. 

As early as 1912 A.J. Parshall reported: "Reclama- 
tion by the Federal Government had not yet been tried 
out, and nearly everyone expected to see the country in 
the vicinity of the Reclamation Service projects de- 

19 Yocum said others of his neighbors had told him of getting 
work on the canal. Two of the Lippincott boys had tried the con- 
struction, Yocum said. They had a mattress and a blanket for 
overnight accommodation. He laughed when he recalled how they 
had described waking up one morning with snow and frost nearly 
covering their primitive facility. They packed up and went back 
across the river to their parents' home in western Nebraska. Yocum 

20 Samuel Adams to Gabriel Davidson, n.d., Reclamation Ser- 
vice, Office of the Secretary, RG48, Records of the Department 
of the Interior, National Archives 

21 Dorothy Keenan, "The Huntley Homesteader," Bits and 
Pieces, (October 1968), 1. 


Annals of Wyoming:Tke Wyoming History Journal 

velop wonderfully ...of the 129,270 acres under irriga- 
tion [from this project] only 2 1 ,749 are in Wyoming." 22 
In 1914 Parshall's report said: 

Wyoming farmers are not scientific irrigators. It is 
the prevailing custom to use two or three times the 
amount of water specified by law. This unlawful and 
wasteful use of water is a disgrace to our state. An 
alarming percentage of our irrigated land, which has 
no natural drainage is becoming marshy, swampy, and 
covered with alkali sloughs. 23 

Parshall's report preceded the influx of veteran home- 
steaders after the Great War. 

Fieldman's story concludes with the names of the 
brave pioneers who came to Wyoming. Some names 
are still familiar, particularly in Cheyenne: 

Mr. and Mrs. Monick Landman, daughter Rose (later 
Novick), Mr. and Mrs. Goldhammer whose grandsons 
Marvin and Isador lived in Cheyenne, Mr. and Mrs. 
Bragger, Mr. Harry Finesilver, the grandfather of Judge 
Finesilver of Denver, Mr. Bundel, Mr. Siegel, Mr. 
Oken, two Bernsteins, both Abraham but not related, 
Greenbergs who returned to Chicago, Charlie Cohen 
and his sons Louis and Sam. Sam was killed by light- 
ening, and the Cohen daughter, Mrs. Bloom, of Den- 
ver. A son, Henry, was bom to the Cohens on the home- 
stead. Henry retired from military service after World 
War II, as a Major. Some of the families who came 
from Chicago and Omaha were: Mr. and Mrs. Goral, 
Mr. and Mrs. Decker, Louis Schwarzman, Harry 
Margolis, the Margolins family, Mr. and Mrs. 
Rosenthal whose oldest son was married about ten miles 
south of what is now Huntley in the first Jewish wed- 
ding in Wyoming. Mr. and Mrs. Wind and son Frank, 
who served in WWI. Mr. and Mrs. Steinburg, Mr. and 
Mrs. Blatt, Max and Ben Silverman (Ben married Rose 
Goldhammer), Ben, Louis, Joe Bobrick — Joe served 
in the army in WWI. The Paris' son was the first born 
in the community in 1907. He was named Wyoming 
Paris, they returned to Pittsburgh. 

Even later a few more people came the Louis Tuck- 
ers, Barskeys, Thomases, Weinsteins, Sam and Max 

Symontov (Max was killed in France in WWI and Sam 
was badly wounded.) The Wolfsons and brother-in- 
law Getzel. Beryle Landman, brother of Monick 
Landman came and Mr. and Mrs. Becker, parents of 
Harry Becker; Mr. and Mrs. Libbyshivetz, the most 
religious man of the community who served as can- 
tor. 24 

"By 1914 nearly every family had proved up on their 
land and had gone," Fieldman's narrative concludes. 

The canal on the south side of the North Platte River 
was begun in 1915 and parts of it were completed in 
time for water to be released into it in 1922, just as the 
World War I veteran-homesteaders arrived at Huntley. 
The entire 130 miles on the south side of the North 
Platte river were delivering water to Wyoming and 
Western Nebraska by 1924, much too late for the Jew- 
ish dream. 

22 Quoted in Larson, 356. State Engineer A.J. Parshall added: 
"Reclamation by the Federal Government had not yet been tried 
out. Not nearly everyone expected to see the country in the vicin- 
ity of the Reclamation Service projects develop wonderfully. Ap- 
plications... indicated the intention.. .of nearly 700,000 acres. Now 
(1912) reports 129,270 of which 107,521 are in Nebraska 21,749 
in Wyoming." 

23 Ibid. 

24 Fieldman, 3. 

Sally Vanderpoel is a graduate of the University of 
Wyoming. She attended elementary school in Huntley 
and graduated from high school in Torrington. A past 
state president of the Wyoming State Historical Soci- 
ety, Vanderpoel served as chairman of the Goshen 
County Bicentennial Commission which acquired the 
Union Pacific Depot in Torrington and made it into a 

The author thanks Frank M. Fieldman 's daughters, 
Victoria Piscitello and Henrietta Humphrey, both from 
the Detroit, Michigan, area, for supporting informa- 
tion and photographs. 

Lucinda A. Wright: 
Pioneer Wife and Mother 

By Reg P. Duffin 

/n Western Wyoming, between the Big Sandy 
River above Farson and the Green River be 
low La Barge, ran one of the toughest 
stretches of the Overland Trails, the desert section of 
the Sublette Cutoff. Some 30 miles west of the Big 
Sandy crossing, just east of the west Buckhorn Canyon 
there, almost hidden within the expanse ofgreasewood 
and prairie grasses, is an old pioneer grave. ' The origi- 
nal headstone reads: Lucinda B. Wright did (sic) June 
25 1853. This is one of the very few remaining classic 
examples of a trail side burial. 

The grave had survived unimpaired for 137 years. 
In the fall of 1990, the headstone was run over by a 
motor vehicle and broken. Vandalism was suspected. 
Fortunately, the break was clean and the text intact. 
With BLM, approval the headstone was given to Bob 
and Karen Rennells for safe keeping at their ranch at 
La Barge, Wyoming. 2 

Oregon Trail researcher Randy Brown, of Douglas, 
Wyoming, found what was to be the first clue to the 
identity of Lucinda B. Wright and her family. In Janu- 
ary, 1993, while reading through the Fred Lockley 
book, 3 Brown noted a brief account written by a John 
G. Wright, pioneer of 1853, which read in part: "Uncle 

Lucinda Wright g> 

1983. Authc 

Huston 's wife died on the Green River desert and was 
buried at the side of the road. " Brown surmised that 
Uncle Huston's wife might be Lucinda B. Wright. With 
many commitments, he did nothing with this except to 
send a copy to this writer, who in late 1994, requested 
information on John G. Wright from the Oregon His- 
torical Society. 

A society researcher responded. 4 John G. Wright of 
Clinton, De Witt County, Illinois, was a pioneer of 
1853. Eventually, it was established that he was the 
nephew of Lucinda B. Wright. Here follows what is 
now known of her story. 

1 The Lucinda B. Wright grave is located in the SW 1/4 of Sec. 1 1 
T26N, R111W ? Sweetwater County, Wyoming. Gregory M. 
Franzwa, Maps of the Oregon Trail, (Tucson: Patrice Press. 1982). 

2 Sally J. Haverly, BLM Rock Springs, to Thomas H. Hunt. 
Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) Preservation Of- 
ficer, 7 Dec. 1990. The letter gives details of headstone breakage 
and removal for safekeeping at the Rennells ranch. 

3 Fred Lockley, Conversations with Bullwhackers and Mule 
Skinners, edited by Mike Helm. (Eugene, Oregon: Rainy Day 
Press, 1981), 231. 

4 John Mead, Oregon Historical Society, to author. 10 Nov. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Harrodsburg, the first white settlement in CAN- 
TUC-KEE, was established in 1774. In 1777 
the Shawnee Indians under Chief Blackfish de- 
stroyed settlements and besieged Boonsboro and 
Harrodsburg. 5 Lucinda B. Wright's immediate fore- 
bears were part of this turbulent scene. Her paternal 
grandfather, Samuel Watt, can be traced to Nelson 
County, Virginia, (now Nelson County, Kentucky,) in 
the year 1 787. It was there that he possibly married, or 
was already married to Rachel Watkins, for the fol- 
lowing year (1788), a son was born to them named 
Gabriel Watt. He was to become Lucinda' s father. 6 The 
same year, some 90 miles to the southwest, possibly 
on Drakes Fork, a tributary of the Green River, Eliza- 
beth Simmons was born. She was to become Lucinda's 
mother. 7 

Nothing is known of the formative years of Gabriel 
Watt and Elizabeth Simmons except that the Watt fam- 
ily moved to the area of Drakes Fork of the Green River, 
Warren County, Kentucky. There, teenagers Gabriel 
and Elizabeth met, courted and with the consent of 
mother Sally Simmons, they were married by the Rev. 
Durham Turner on December 21, 1805. 8 In the fall of 
1 806, exact day and month unknown, their first child 
Lucinda, was born. 9 

Lucinda married James Burchfield on the 22nd De- 

Lucinda Wright headstone. Photo by author in 1983. 

cember, 1824, in Warren County, Kentucky. 10 It is un- 
certain when the Watt and Birchfield families left Ken- 
tucky to settle in the central Illinois areas of De Witt 

5 Allan J. Eckert, The Frontiersman, (Boston: Little, Brown, 
1967), 137. 

6 George Wyder to author, 10 March, 1995. Wylder of Clinton, 
111., a member of the De Witt County Genealogical Society, pro- 
vided initial information of the Wright families and the Kentucky/ 
Virginia origins of the Watt family. 

7 Lucinda B. Wright's grandparents, Peter and Sally Simmons, 
were established from a record of a Green River, Kentucky, prop- 
erty sale listed in Deed Abstract of Warren County, Kentucky, 
1797-1812, 61. A copy is held in the collections of the Kentucky 
Historical Society, Frankfort. In 1796, the area of the Green and 
Barren Rivers in south central Kentucky was established as War- 
ren County. Birth year of Elizabeth Simmons, mother of Lucinda 
B. Wright, was established from De Witt County, Illinois, cem- 
etery records provided by Verda Gerwich, Lexington Historical 
Society, Lexington, Illinois. Peter Simmons, died prior to 1 809. 
He left an estate including "a claim to head right south of Green 
River Certificate #207." Claim was sold to secure for his heirs, 
including Gabriel and Elizabeth Watt, a claim to 200 acres on the 
Green River. Certificate #3071, 21 Jan 1809. Deed Abstract, 61. 

8 The marriage of Gabriel Watt and Sally Simmons is recorded 
in the Warren County, Kentucky Marriages, 1791-1851, 81. Ken- 
tucky Historical Society collections. 

9 Lucinda's birth date is calculated from the marriage date of 
her parents and the 1850 Federal Census of McLean County, 
Randolph Township. The household of Gabriel Watt is listed in 
the 1820 Federal Census of Warren County, Kentucky. The for- 
mat does not permit conclu- 
sive research. Listed are 
Gabriel Watt, head of house- 
hold, one white male under 10 
years (Pleasant Watt?), one 
white male between 10 and 16 
years (Elijah Watt?), one 
white female under 10 years, 
Rachel Watt and one white 
female 10 to 16 years, 
Lucinda Watt. 1820 Federal 
Census of Warren County, 
Kentucky, 21. The boys' 
names (Pleasant and Elijah) 
are speculative and are taken 
from the Will of Elizabeth 
Watt read in August, 1860, 
wherein the names of the sons 
and daughters are listed as 
heirs. Photocopy of the will 
was provided by George 
Wylder to author, 28 April, 

10 Warren County, Ken- 
tucky Marriages, 1791-1851, 
9. The Burchfield name is 
spelled with a "u" in Kentucky 
records. The name is spelled 
"Birchfield" in Illinois 
records. The latter spelling is 
used in this article. 

Summer 1997 


and McLean counties, probably around 1826. Lucinda 
and James Birchfield's first child, Elizabeth Jane, was 
born in Illinois in 1828. There followed Julia Ann 
Birchfield (1832) and Martha E. Birchfield (1836). 11 

In Macon County, Illinois, the Wright family name 
entered the story. On February 12, 1835, Lucinda's sis- 
ter, Rachel Watt, married Addison Wright. Their son, 
John G., was born May 4, 1837. 12 

During the latter months of 1 835, Lucinda would have 
been carrying her third child, Martha E. Sometime in 
1 835 or 1 836, her husband, James Birchfield, must have 
died. 13 On August 4, 1836, she married Thomas H. 
Wright. Lucinda and Thomas prospered, acquired prop- 
erty and began their own family of four children. 14 

Lucinda's daughter, Elizabeth Jane Birchfield, mar- 
ried Amos Hougham of McLean county on May 26, 
1846. 15 This marriage was ill-fated and, again, in cir- 
cumstances unknown, Amos must have died. In March, 
1848, Elizabeth married John Story. 16 Gabriel Watt, 
Lucinda's father, died on July 23, 1848. 17 

Lucinda's sister Rachel and her husband died. Their 
two sons, William and John G., were taken in by rela- 
tives. 18 In his reminiscences John G. Wright describes 
the circumstances: 

"I was born near Clinton, 111., May 4, 1837. My fa- 
ther died when I was 3 years old and my brother Willie, 
a year old.... Mother died not long after father's death. 
My mother's mother, Grandmother Watt, took me to 
raise. Father's brother, Huston Wright, took Willie." 19 

In 1851, Lucinda's daughter, Julia Ann, married 
Monterville Fisk of McLean county. 20 

All these families had a great common heritage. They 
had been part of the American westward movement 
which had crossed the Appalachian mountains, had 
settled in the Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois ter- 
ritories. A compulsion to move west was inherent. In 
1 852 the Wright family clan contemplated the ultimate 
western move, the 2,000-mile overland trek to the Pa- 
cific shores and Oregon. 

On September 1 7, 1 852, Thomas and Lucinda Wright 
sold their 171-acre farm in the southwest area of 
McLean county to Thomas O. Rutledge for $1,022. 21 
They made preparations during the winter and early 
spring of 1853. By March 15, all was ready. Farewells 
were said, the last lingering looks at familiar comfort- 
ing surroundings were made and probably any inner 
thoughts of doubts or anticipation were left unsaid. The 
Wright wagon train headed northwest across the Illi- 
nois prairies toward Bloomington. 

The wagon train was comprised of five family groups. 
The first family was that of Thomas H. Wright, age 37; 
Lucinda B. Wright, 47; and children,Martha E. 17, Wil- 

liam and John, both 16; William A., 15; Elmyra, 12; 
Silas W., 7, and Elijah, 4. 

The second family was John Story, age 27; his wife 
(Lucinda's daughter) Elizabeth Jane, 25; David, 4, and 
infant John William. Lucinda's daughter Julia Ann, 2 1 , 
and her husband Monterville Fisk made up the third 
party. The fourth family was made up of Pleasant Hill, 

11 The year of birth of the three Birchfield daughters is calcu- 
lated from the 1850 Federal Census of McLean County, Randolph 
Township, Illinois. 

12 The marriage is recorded in First Marriage Book, Macon 
County, Illinois, 3. An obituary in the Oregon Statesman, Salem. 
Oregon, 22 May, 1923, gives John G. Wright's birthdate as 4 
May, 1837. 

13 The probability that Lucinda and James Birchfield were di- 
vorced is discounted, but there is no direct evidence of Birchfield's 
death. Illinois law did not require deaths to be recorded until 1916. 
McLean County, Illinois, deaths were not recorded until 1878. 
No cemetery record of his death could be found. 

14 Thomas H. Wright is a key figure in the structure and cred- 
ibility of this article. It is assumed that the middle initial "H" 
stands for "Huston" e.g. the Uncle Huston referred to by nephew 
John G. Wright. Emphasis was placed to find the Wright name 
given as Thomas Huston Wright in Illinois and Oregon records. 
No such record could be found. However, the Thomas H. Wright 
name does fit with all family, marriage, property records, and 
first person accounts. The Wright-Birchfield marriage is recorded 
in the Illinois Marriage Index, Illinois State Genealogical Soci- 
ety, 1358, McLean County, Vol. A, 53. The marriage certificate, 
dated August 4, 1 836, is filed in the County Clerk's office, McLean 
County, Illinois. 

15 The marriage is recorded in Illinois Marriage Index, Illinois 
State Genealogical Society, 1358, McLean County, Vol. B, 127. 

16 Birchfield Family, McLean Co. Genealogical Soc. 13 (1879). 

17 The graves of Gabriel and Elizabeth Watt are in the McCord 
Cemetery, De Witt County, 111. 

18 The 1850 Federal Census of McLean County, Randolph 
Township, is quite exacting and clarifies the Thomas H. and 
Lucinda Wright family. "Family No. 1457/1490: Wright, Tho- 
mas H., 33, male, Farmer, b. in Illinois; Lucinda, 44, female, b. 
in Kentucky; Julia A., 18; Martha E., 14; John B.(or R), 12; Wil- 
liam A., 12; Elmyra, (female), 9; Silas W., 4; Elijah, 1. All of the 
children were born in Illinois." The 1850 Federal Census of De 
Witt County, Illinois, gives the household of Elizabeth Watt, 
Lucinda's mother: "Family No. 578-583: Watt, Elizabeth, 62, born 
in Virginia; Elizabeth, 22, born in Illinois; and John G. Wright, 
13, born in Illinois." William A. Wright and John G. Wright were 
the sons of deceased Addison and Rachel Wright and were cared 
for in the homes of Thomas H. Wright and Elizabeth Watt, re- 

19 Quoted in Fred Lockley, "Impressions and Observations of a 
Journal Man," The Oregon Journal, 21 Dec. 1922. 

20 Illinois Marriage Index, Vol. C, 18. The marriage certificate 
dated 3 July, 1851, is filed in the County Clerk's Office, McLean 
Co., Bloomington, 111. 

21 The property was located south of present day Illinois High- 
way 136 two miles east of the township of McLean and 1 1/2 
miles east of Interstate 55 in the NE 1/4, Sec. 5 and the NW 1/4. 
Sec. 6, R1E, T21N, McLean County, 111. The area is still farm- 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Jc 

age 27; his wife Mary Jane, 24; daughter M.J., 2; and 
infant George. Hugh and Nancy Harris were the fifth 
group on the train. 22 

Young John G. Wright, who was living with his 
grandmother Watts, some miles from his Uncle Huston, 
was not included in this roster. In his reminiscences he 
explained how he overtook Uncle Huston's wagon train: 

In 1853 when I was 16, my brother (William) sent 
word to me that he was going to Oregon with Uncle 
Huston. I didn't suppose I should ever see him again 
for Oregon seemed a long way off. After bidding him 
goodbye, I stuck around until the next day, getting more 
and more lonesome, so I struck out and overtook them 
at Bloomington, 111. That was on St. Patrick's Day in 
1853. I made arrangements to drive the loose cattle 
across the plains, in exchange for three meals a day 
and the use of a blanket. 23 

Only an estimated 20,000 people traveled overland 
during 1853. 24 Little is known of the Wright wagon 
train as it journeyed west. John G. Wright wrote: "We 
crossed the plains by ox-team. The oxen proved better 
travelers than horses or mules. Horse and mule teams 
overtook us at first, but in three or four weeks we passed 
them and saw them no more." 25 

The Wright train seemed to have moved along quite 
well. By the second week in June, they were along the 
Sweetwater Valley in Wyoming. It is possible that 
Lucinda Wright may have been unwell as the Wright 
train crossed the Continental Divide at South Pass on 
or about June 22, 1853. 

On reaching the Big Sandy River, the Wrights would 
have rested, knowing that the best method of crossing 
the 40 or 50 miles of arid desert ahead of them to reach 
the Green River, was to water, feed and rest their oxen 
and stock. They would have filled every available cask 
with water, gathered as much hay, grass and feed as 
possible, then waited for the cool of the evening to 
start the Sublette desert crossing. 

The cause of Lucinda Wright's death never will be 
known. At age 47, childbirth may be ruled out. 26 It could 
have been cholera. If she suffered from such a progres- 
sively worsening illness, the situation would have 
reached a critical stage at the Big Sandy River. If this 
is correct, she would have been made as comfortable 
as possible within the confines of the family wagon for 
the Sublette desert crossing. Some 30 jolting miles 
westward, an estimated ten hours of travel, at a point 
where the trail nears the west Buckhorn Canyon, 
Lucinda Wright died. It was the early morning hours 
of June 25, 1853. 

Amid the grief a suitable headstone was found and 

inscribed: "Lucinda B. Wright did (sic) June 25 1853." 
John G. Wright gave an account of the burial: 

Uncle Huston's wife died on the Green River desert 
and was buried at the side of the road. I shall never 
forget how desolate we felt as we hitched up the oxen 
and pulled out, leaving the freshly broken earth by the 
side of the Old Oregon trail as the only visible sign 
that one of our number had finished the journey, while 
we must still travel on. There were four families of us 
that stopped to bury my aunt, in a blanket in a shallow 
grave, with a few feet of earth and the wide sky over 
her. 27 

Nothing is known of the Wright train's continu- 
ing journey on to Oregon. Presumably, they fol 
lowed the regular trail route across Idaho, over 
the Blue Mountains to Oregon and down the Willamette 
Valley to Salem, where they arrived Sept. 15, 1853. 
John G. Wright wrote: 

The Harris family settled in Polk County, not far from 
the Wallace farm. Pleasant Hill and his family took up 
a claim on the Eola-Dallas road, just beyond Tom 
Brunk's place and Montipool [Monterville] Fish, who 
married one of Uncle Huston's daughters, also settled 
in Polk County. Uncle Huston went to work, not long 
after he got here, for Thomas Cross, Salem's leading 
butcher in the days before the Civil War. He [Huston] 
was Cross' cattle buyer and traveled all over the Val- 
ley. 28 

22 Hugh and Nancy Harris were married 7 Apr. 1 840, McLean 
County. Whether there were Harris children with the wagon train 
can not be determined. Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Hill were sisters. 
George Wylder to author, 28 Apr. 1995. 

23 The Oregon Journal 21 Dec. 1922. 

24 Merrill J. Mattes, The Great Platte River Road, (Lincoln: 
Nebraska State Historical Society Press, 1969), 23. 

25 The John G. Wright quote is from a column commemorating 
the 50th Anniversary of his arrival in Oregon. The Oregon Jour- 
nal, 15 Sept. 1913. Kathleen Roubal ran a check through OCTA- 
COED records. No reference to the Wright train or members was 

26 It is doubtful that Silas Albert Wright, born on the plains in 
1853, (died Heppner, Ore., June 15, 1922), was Lucinda's child. 
They already had a son named Silas and Lucinda's age make it 
unlikely. Also, John G. Wright would have mentioned death in 
childbirth. "Necrology," Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer As- 
sociation, Fiftieth Annual Reunion, Portland, June 15, 1922, 459. 

27 The Oregon Journal, 21 Dec. 1922. 

28 Ibid. A report on a Salem Agricultural Exhibition, noted that 
T.H. Wright exhibited a "Best Cow 5 Years Old." The Oregon 
Statesman, Oct. 17, 1854. This was probably cattleman Huston, 
but details of Huston's Oregon years are sparse and indefinite. 

Summer 1997 


Huston's stepdaughter, Martha E. Wright, married 
Thomas M. Thompson in Marion County on May 28, 
1 855. The next year, on October 12, his youngest daugh- 
ter, Elmira, married John Barker. 29 

In 1 865 Huston may have entered the construction 
business. A Thomas Wright is listed as contractor for 
structural work to Salem area business buildings. 

On 21 February, 1869, at the Salem home of James 
C. Hutton, Thomas H. Wright was married to Eliza 
Stutzman. The couple had one child, Pleasant P., born 
in 1872. 30 

In 1 854 John G. Wright went to work for a Mr. Durbin 
on a farm north of Salem. The next year, he was a cook 
at the Indian Creek Hotel in Yreka, California. On Oct. 
11, 1855, he enlisted as a corporal in the Yakima In- 
dian wars. He was one of the first grocers in Salem in 
1857, doing business until 1897. He helped organize 
the Salem fire department, served as president of the 
Salem Board of Trade and on the local school board. 
After several terms on the Salem City Council, he was 
elected to the State Legistature from Marion County, 
Also, he was trustee of the IOOF Grand Lodge and 
served two terms as Mayor of the City of Salem.39 

John G. Wright died at the age of 86 in May, 1923. 
It is a fitting commentary that within his reminscences 
made in December, 1922, he still recalled the June day 
in 1853, on the Wyoming high desert country, how 
"sad and desolate" he felt as they laid his Aunt Lucinda 
to rest. 

29 Stephanie Flora, Oregon Historical Society, to author, 9 Sept. 
1995. It appears that in 1860, cattle buyer Huston, who traveled 
extensively within Oregon, had not settled in his own home in 
Salem. The 1860 Federal Census of Marion County (South Sa- 
lem) Oregon, lists: Family No. 3826-3171: Jo. Converse, 47, M 
Farmer, b. in Canada; L. Converse, 45, F; and T. Wright, 41, M 
Farmer, b. in Illinois. Despite an age discrepancy of three years, 
this T. Wright may have been Huston, a guest/lodger in the Con- 
verse household. Huston' s widower, single parent status and need 
to care for his younger children is revealed in a further entry of 
the 1860 Marion County, Census. Family No. 3692/3143: T. Th- 
ompson, 31, Teamster, born in Ohio; M (Martha) Thompson, 23, 
b. in 111.; J. Thompson, 3, born in Oregon; S. Wright, 14; and E 
Wright, 1 1, both born in Illinois and cared for in the household of 
their elder stepsister. 

30 This family is recorded as No. 164 in the 1880 Federal Cen- 
sus of Oregon: Marion County, East Salem. As for the other mem- 
bers of the Wright wagon train, the Story family settled in Marion 
County and the Pleasant Hill family located in Polk County. The 
Fisk and Harris families also settled in Polk County. 

31 The 1860 Census shows that two children had been born to 
the Storys in Oregon, a son recorded as E. Story and a daughter, 
O. Story. The 1860 Census shows that three children were born 
to the Hills in Oregon: a daughter Ethel and sons Thurston and 
Pleasant. The Monterville Fisk name appears only in Polk County 
Donation Land Claims. Hugh Harris is listed in the 1856 Polk 
County Census, names of legal voters. Flora to author, 9 Sept. 

32 Details of the personal and public life of John G. Wright are 
taken from T.C. Shaw and S. H. Baker, The Book of Remem- 
brances, (Salem, Oregon, n. p.), 265; Obituary, The Oregon States- 
man, 22 May 1923; and "Wright Reminiscences," Oregon Jour- 
nal, 21 Dec. 1922. 

Reg. P. Duffin was born in London, England, and 
educated there. After service in the Royal Air Force, 
he was employed in the United States by General 
Motors. Among his writing credits are articles about 
five other trailside pioneer graves. He now lives in 
LaGrange Park, Illinois. 





PLATTE, 1866-1890 

By Alison K. Hoagland and Kevin O'Dell 

Fort OF. Smith •"'••. 

Fort Phil Kearny 4. 
Fort McKlnney •'. 

Cantonnenl Reno 

Fort Cupar • Fort Fetter 

• Fort Niobrara 

Fort Lararaie • 

V» f ~" • Fort Bridger 
Fort Douglaj 

Fort Thomburgn • 

Fort Fred Steele • 

_^ —^~ — — -x 

"*■ — — fort Halleck • V 

Sidney Barrack. North Platte Station 

— v-^: — *"■ «n 

Fort D.A. Runell 

- &~A 

Fort Sedgwick I 

Fort CuncroB # 

L _ 



Fort McPhenon "^ — - <* _ 1 

• Fort Kearny ^ 



Military Port 


Department Headquarter* 

Bozeman Trail 

Union Pacific Railroad 

__. __ 


Central Pacific Railroad 

25 50 

1 1 1 

100 200 
1 1 

scale In miles 

Major military posts in the Department of the Platte. Map by Kevin O'Dell 

Summer 1997 


In its effort to secure transportation corridors, make 
the region safe for settlement, and suppress and 
contain the Native American population, the U.S. Army 
built more than 300 posts in the American West during 
the nineteenth century. ' This remarkable building pro- 
gram had none of the hallmarks of military planning, 
centralized administration, or uniformity that we asso- 
ciate with other aspects of the nineteenth-century mili- 
tary. 2 Instead, most of the construction was planned 
by poorly trained personnel in the field, built by sol- 
diers rather than builders, and funded inadequately. 
Faced with indifference from Congress and the public, 
the western army endeavored to find creative and ex- 
peditious solutions to the problem of housing itself. 
One of the clearest ways that this was demonstrated 
was in the selection of building materials. 

The Department of the Platte is a particularly appro- 
priate area to study this dilemma, as it included a slice 
of the Great Plains, a region that provided new chal- 
lenges to military building. Created in 1866, the De- 
partment of the Platte encompassed the states of Ne- 
braska, Wyoming, Utah, and Iowa. 3 (See map above) 
Reflecting the official interest in transportation corri- 
dors, the linear arrangement of the department included 
the Overland Trail to Oregon, California, and Utah, as 
well as the first transcontinental railroad route. Also 
in the department were two routes to controversial gold 
fields, the Bozeman Trail and the route from Chey- 
enne to the Black Hills; American persistence in open- 
ing up these gold fields resulted in armed conflict with 
the Native American population. Some posts in the 
Department of the Platte served as staging areas for 
forays against the Indians while others provided a mili- 
tary force to secure the Indian reservations. 

The military adopted a strategy of saturating the re- 
gion with numerous forts, which increased its physical 
presence but scattered its small number of troops and 
strained its limited funding. The posts were conceived 
as temporary facilities, intended to be abandoned when 
the frontier moved. As a result, construction responsi- 
bility remained at the post level. Buildings were usu- 
ally designed by lieutenants at the posts whose assign- 
ments as acting assistant quartermasters brought them 
numerous duties and no specialized training. Troops 
constructed the buildings, sometimes supervised or 
assisted by skilled civilians. In order to stretch con- 
struction funds, local materials were employed when- 
ever possible. Wood, especially logs, was used when 
available, but the army also built with adobe, rammed 
earth, brick, stone, and concrete. This range of materi- 

als, and the degree of experimentation and flexibility 
that each of them required, reflects a search for cre- 
ative solutions. 

Wood, most simply used in horizontal log construc- 
tion, was a familiar building material for these troops 
from the East. Without a sawmill, just one or two work- 
ers with an axe could construct a log building. In mini- 
mal shelter, the roof consisted of round poles covered 
with dirt, and foundations and flooring were dispensed 
with. The part of the construction requiring the most 
skill was the corner notching, which at its simplest in- 
volved round logs lapped over one another in a saddle 
notch; more complex notching involved tightly joined, 
dovetailed corners on square-hewn logs, each one in- 
dividually matched. Confronted with a workforce of 
untrained troops, the army found simpler ways of se- 
curing the corners. This haphazard search for an expe- 
ditious construction system typified much of the west- 
ern army's building program. 

To simplify the construction process, the army in- 
corporated a log building system probably deriving 
from a similar French Canadian system known as 
pieces-sur-pieces. Disseminated by fur traders from the 
north, the technique involved setting horizontal logs 
into vertical corner and intermediate posts. This pro- 
cess of fitting pieces into an upright frame inspired army 
observers to refer to the technique as "empaneled" walls, 
"panel work," or more appropriately panel construc- 
tion. 4 Available timber heights determined panel 
lengths. Panel construction required logs of standard 
lengths, with available tree heights determining the 
lengths. While utilizing panel construction, the mili- 
tary employed at least four different techniques for se- 
curing the horizontal logs to the vertical posts, each 
simpler than the last. 

In his construction of Fort Phil Kearny on the 
Bozeman Trail in 1 866, Col. Henry B. Carrington used 
the mortise and tenon technique of panel construction. 

1 This number is derived from a count of posts west of the 
Mississippi listed in Francis Paul Prucha, A Guide to the Military 
Posts of the United States, 1789-1895 (Madison: State Historical 
Society of Wisconsin, 1964), 55-118. 

: Merritt Roe Smith, "Introduction," Military Enterprise and 
Technological Change (Cambridge: MIT, 1985), 5-22. 

3 Iowa had no forts in the post-Civil War period. A portion of 
Idaho was added in 1875. Arthur P. Wade, "The Military Com- 
mand Structure: The Great Plains, 1853-1891," Journal of the 
West 15 (July 1976): 15. 

4 Maj. E. R. S. Canby, Drawing of Officer's Quarters, #20, 
Miscellaneous Forts File, Record Group 77, National Archives, 
Washington, D. C. "Shrapnell" [pseud.], "Fort Sanders, Dakota 
Territory," Army and Navy Journal 4 (5 January 1 867): 313. 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 


W^ru iijALaw-Vld^tili J ---- — 


pLvwo iw olrfo i tkvLLi-LL\ra „or Wr nuLfci !lUl 


. itLaJWk 


{UiJL^X'wi-w^ Lw-VOaa. cLu^jO-^j . 

b L-GL-i ^wUmr 

iiOA\A_A/ £uaJLiXI_ £bU-*-A !lMAAS~CkLa 


iji'n &J, kUlu \LjJt. 


^? For/ Phil Kearny, 
Col. Henry B. 
Carrington used the 
form of connection 
in the log barracks. 
National Archives. 

He noted that for construction of his fort no "citizen- 
mechanics" were allowed and the only tools required 
were a broad-ax, 2-1/2-inch augur, and chisel. Sol- 
diers hewed the logs flat on two sides, "to dispense 
with spikes." They used augers and chisels to cut the 
mortise grooves running the full length of the corner 
and intermediate posts, set the posts in the ground, slid 
the horizontal logs into the posts, and chinked the logs 
with clay. After a steam sawmill arrived, Carrington 
ordered the logs squared on four sides, creating shingles 
out of the discarded lumber. This construction system 
provided "rapidity of erection, neatness, tightness." The 
system was also essentially modular, and could be ex- 
tended indefinitely, unlike the traditional system of 
corner notching which was more difficult to extend. 
Here, short timbers could make very long buildings, 
especially buildings peculiar to the army such as bar- 
racks, storehouses, and stables. As Carrington noted, 
he could build "any size, without notching or parti- 
tions, when desired." 5 At that time, Fort Phil Kearny 
was the only Department of the Platte post to incorpo- 
rate the mortise and tenon technique. The method re- 
quired considerable labor and skill, so military build- 
ers sought an even simpler technique for securing pan- 
els of logs. 

A second type of joining used in panel construction 
was the slot-and-cleat, employed at Fort Bridger (right). 
Here, 7- to 8-foot-long square-hewn logs were narrowed 
at the ends, laid horizontally, butted against vertical 
posts, and held in place by smaller vertical pieces that 
formed a slot. In 1 859 Major Edward R. S. Canby de- 

scribed log officers' quarters constructed there: "Build- 
ings are of pine logs empaneled into a frame and sup- 
ported by cleats." 6 A surviving officers' quarters at Fort 
Bridger is a one-story building with a gable roof, mea- 
suring 41 by 33 feet. Five other officers' quarters and 
five barracks were constructed using this system. 

Toe-nailing was the third joining system, in which 
horizontal logs were simply nailed to the corner and 
intermediate posts. (See right) Troops employed this 
system at Cantonment Reno in 1 877, and again the next 
year when they moved to a new site, named Fort 
McKinney. This expeditious joining system earned the 
disapproval of Lt. Col. Thomas Anderson in his sur- 
vey of army construction techniques: "At Fort 
McKinney the toe-nail corner was tried and found to 
be a very poor one. It consists in laying the logs one 
above the other up against a vertical corner beam, and 
driving spikes in diagonally. This insecure fastening 
will not stand the strong pressure of winter winds in 
high altitudes." 7 Within a year of construction, several 
Fort McKinney barracks walls required exterior props 

5 Henry B. Carrington, "Plans for Log Buildings at Fort Philip 
Kearney," copied 24 December 1866, Box 15, Entry 3898 (De- 
partment of the Platte, quartermaster's department), Part I, Record 
Group 393 (Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands, 1821- 

6 Maj. E. R. S. Canby, drawing of officers' quarters, Fort 
Bridger, #20, Miscellaneous Forts File, RG 77, National Archives, 
Washington, D. C. 

7 Thomas M. Anderson, "Army Posts, Barracks and Quarters," 
Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States 2 
(1882): 440. 

Summer 199? 

and supports. Conditions became so bad that during an October 
1879 storm, workmen were forced to vacate one barracks. 8 

Lieutenant Colonel Anderson did not even mention the fourth 
technique — hog-trough. In this method, used in 1883 in cavalry 
barracks at Fort Robinson, horizontal logs were nailed into ver- 
tical corner boards, not posts (right). The ready availability of 
nails is reflected in the toe-nail and hog-trough methods, both 
less stable and durable than the other two joining systems. 

Although soldiers set up sawmills early in the construction 
process for the production of roofing and flooring material, when 
sawn lumber was required in quantity, as for framed buildings, 
the army preferred to purchase it. But then transportation be- 
came the problem, so that framed buildings were not prevalent 
until the railroad had penetrated the Department. Fort D. A. 
Russell, established in 1 867 to aid the construction of the rail- 
road, was a wood-frame post from the beginning, because lum- 
ber bought on contract could be easily shipped. 9 Still, wood 
frame had its detractors; Lieutenant Colonel Anderson called it 
"a cheap substitute for something better" and "cold in winter, 
hot in summer, easily burned and liable to contamination from 
contagious diseases." 10 

Elizabeth Burt would have agreed. Accompanying her officer- 
husband to his posting at Fort D. A. Russell in 1869, she noted 
that after a hard snowstorm "water began to drip from the ceil- 
ings upstairs and upon investigation it was found that snow had 
been blown in under the eaves and shingles of the roof." 11 The 
dwellings leaked so much that the post commander ordered a 
board of officers to investigate in 1 870. Lt. Col. Thomas Duncan 
testified that during a storm on March 27 the snow that blew 
into his quarters stood 5 to 12 inches deep. Lt. Col. L. P. Brad- 
ley claimed that he removed enough snow from the interior of 
his quarters to fill three army wagons. And Elizabeth's husband, 
Maj. Andrew S. Burt, testified on behalf of enlisted men in bar- 
racks: "After snow storms at night, the men in the top bunks are 
covered with snow." 12 

8 Maj. Verling Hart to Adjutant General, Department of the Platte, 5 No- 
vember 1879, cited in Murray, Military Posts of the Powder River Country 
of Wyoming, 1865-1894 (Buffalo, Wyo: The Office, 1968; rev., 1990), 129. 

9 2 September 1867 contract between Col. Carling, Fort D. A. Russell, 
and Mason and Co. to provide lumber, Records of Contracts August 1866 to 
November 1869, Department of the Platte, entry 3893, RG 393. Also, Col. 
Carling AQM, Cheyenne, to Bvt. Maj. Gen. C. C. Augur, Commanding De- 
partment of the Platte, 21 November 1867: "If you can send me 100,000 feet 
of boards, 16 feet long, within a week, should like them." Department of the 
Platte incoming letters April 1866-August 1868, Francis E. Warren AFB 

10 Anderson, 439. 

" Manuscript, p. 200, Elizabeth J. Burt Papers, Manuscripts Division, Li- 
brary of Congress, Washington, D. C. 

12 Proceedings of Board of Officers ordered 31 March 1870, by Col. John 
H. King, Box 953, entry 225 (Consolidated Correspondence File, 1794-1915), 
Record Group 92 (Office of the Quartermaster General), National Archives, 
Washington, D. C. 








Slot and 




Various forms of panel construction. 
Drawings by Kevin O 'Dell 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

Clearly, the construction of these buildings was in- 
adequate. The post surgeon described the officers' quar- 
ters as being built of "rough one-inch boards placed 
upright with the cracks battened, the mode adopted for 
almost all the buildings at the post .... The quarters 
are finished within with planed boards and battens or 
matched flooring instead of plaster." 13 When apprised 
of the situation at Fort D. A. Russell, Quartermaster 
Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs recommended that shingle 
roofs be replaced with iron, and that tarpaper cover the 
sheathing boards. 14 This was done; Elizabeth Burt noted 
that the walls were covered with tarpaper and wallpa- 
per, which "added greatly to our comfort and the home- 
like appearance of the house." 15 

The tarpaper, however, only increased the danger 
from fire. At 5 a.m., January 5, 1875, with the tem- 
perature at 1 7 below zero, fire broke out in the quarters 
of Lieut. Julius H. Pardee and destroyed six buildings, 
or twelve sets of quarters, but fortunately took no lives. 
The board of officers convened to investigate the fire 
found that all the interior walls of the quarters were of 
light boards covered with tarpaper, the exterior walls 
were covered with tarpaper nailed on studding, and the 
quarters were heated by coal stoves, concluding that 
"it would be difficult to devise a more flammable ar- 
rangement." 16 Shortly after the fire at Fort D. A. Russell, 

Quartermaster General Meigs prohibited the further use 
of tarpaper. 17 
Despite the danger from fire, wood frame was still 

13 C. H. Alden, "Medical History of the Post [Fort D. A. 
Russell]," [1869], 17, Francis E. Warren AFB Archives. The bar- 
racks were the same, except that the walls were lined with adobe 
bricks for added insulation. 

14 Proceedings of a Board of Officers ordered 31 March 1870 
by Col. John H. King. 

15 Merrill J. Mattes, Indians, Infants and Infantry: Andrew and 
Elizabeth Burt on the Frontier (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 
1960, 1988), 179. U.S. War Department, Surgeon-General's Of- 
fice, Circular No. 4, A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, with 
Descriptions of Military Posts (Washington: GPO, 1870), 342. 
The roofs were replaced with sheet iron in 1871, according to the 
"Medical History of the Post [Fort D. A. Russell]," December 
1871 entry. 

16 9 January 1875, Proceedings of a Board of Officers, Box 
952, entry 225, RG 92. 

17 Letter received 20 March 1875, from CQM, page 8, entry 27 
(letters received, quartermaster's department), part V (records sent 
from post), Record Group 393 (Records of U.S. Army Continen- 
tal Commands, 1821-1920). Meigs attributed the ban to an ex- 
plosion that occurred in the commanding officer's quarters at Fort 
Abraham Lincoln in 1873. Those quarters were also lined with 
tarpaper; they were occupied by Gen. George Armstrong Custer 
and his wife, Elizabeth. Drew to Ludington, 25 August 1 879, Box 
533, entry 225, RG 92. Elizabeth B. Custer, "Boots and Saddles ": 
Or Life in Dakota with General Custer (Williamstown, Mass.: 
Corner House, 1969), 115. 

Log officers ' quarters at Fort Bridger, erected in 1858, used the slot-and-cleat joining technique. 




Division ot'Cultural Resources 

Wood-frame officers ' quarters at Fort D. A. Russell were clad with board-and-batten siding. 

the easiest and most familiar type of construction. But 
for most posts in the Department of the Platte, wood 
frame was not an option, as the posts were too far from 
the railroad line. For many of these posts, log was not 
an option either, as timber was too distant from the 
forts. Although the army noted stands of timber 1 2 miles 
away when it purchased Fort Laramie in 1 849, within 
two years troops had to go 25 miles for mill lumber. 
By 1856 they went 35 miles, and by 1863, 45 miles. 18 
While the Great Plains may have been labeled the Great 
American Desert in terms of farming potential, it also 
struck Eastern officers as a desert in terms of building 
materials. Their search for a building material other 
than wood exemplified their struggle to cope with un- 
familiar surroundings. 

When the army purchased the trading post of Fort 
Laramie, the fort itself offered its own solution to tim- 
ber problem: it was built of adobe. Lieut. Daniel 
Woodbury of the Engineer Department, charged with 
establishing the post, ordered the occupation and re- 
pair of this adobe structure, as well as the construction 
of new buildings, some of which were adobe. By Feb- 

ruary 1851, troops had constructed four new adobe 
buildings. Woodbury had supervised extensive adobe 
construction at Fort Kearny in 1 848; he gained his ex- 
perience from a trader named Andrew Sublette, who 
had built Fort Vasquez, a trading post in Colorado, out 
of adobe in 1835. 19 Introduced by Spanish colonists in 
the early seventeenth century, the spread of this con- 
struction system was due to traders such as Sublette. 20 
The appeal of adobe to the army was plain. It was an 
indigenous material that required fabrication but little 
skill or other materials. Simply, earth was mixed with 
water to form a clay, then molded into bricks about 9 

18 Aeneas Mackay, Deputy QMG, to Maj. Gen. Thomas Jesup, 
QMG, 1 November 1849, Box 531, entry 225, RG 92. Hoffman 
to Corley, AAAG, 1 9 August 1 856, Fort Laramie Archives. Agnes 
Wright Spring, "An Army Wife Comes West: Letters of Catharine 
Wever Collins (1863-1864)," repr. from Colorado Magazine 31 
(October 1954), 10. 

19 David Murphy, "Building in Clay on the Central Plains," 
Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, III, ed. Thomas Carter 
and Bernard L. Herman (Columbia: University of Missouri, 1989), 
76, 78. 

20 Murphy, 75. 


Annals of Wyoming :The Wyoming History Journal 

"But for most posts in the Department of the Platte, wood frame was not 
an option, as the posts were too far from the railroad line." 

by 1 8 inches long, 6 inches thick, and left to dry in the 
sun. 21 The bricks were laid up like masonry, then cov- 
ered with a mud plaster. The post surgeon at Fort 
Laramie noted in 1 869 that "a party of six men are 
employed on sunny days at making adobes for build- 
ing purposes." 22 When several companies constructed 
a new site for Fort Thornburgh in northeastern Utah in 
the summer of 1 882, one unhappy soldier reported that 
"a part of the command, with a saw mill, was sent to 
the timber, 20 miles distant, and have been and are still 
getting out lumber; the balance have been kept busy 
making adobes, of which about 180,000 were manu- 
factured during the summer. As yet [September 18] 
quarters have not been commenced for the men." 23 

Maj. William Hoffman, commanding Fort Laramie 
in 1856, found adobe particularly appropriate for an 
unskilled workforce: "From the experiments I have 
made here, I am satisfied that the adobe is the best, and 
much the cheapest material, that can be used for build- 
ings in this country. Last summer I commenced build- 
ing in August, with only three rough masons and not a 
man who had ever made an adobe and by November 
seven adobe buildings were up and occupied. Any 
handy man can be taught to make, and to lay adobes in 
a wall, in a very little while." 24 

Adobe continued to be used at temporary posts in 
the 1880s. Fort Niobrara, constructed in 1880 and ex- 
panded in 1885, was built almost entirely of adobe. 
When Fort Robinson expanded to a ten-company post 
in 1 887, its buildings were of adobe, against the wishes 
of its commanding officer. Col. Edward Hatch argued 
that brick would be more efficient, estimating that 30 
percent of the adobe bricks would be lost to breakage 
and rains, making burned brick more economical. In 
addition, masons could lay up a brick wall faster than 
an adobe one. He assumed that if the soil were suitable 
for adobe, it would also serve to make bricks. 25 Gen. 
George Crook, the commander of the Department of 
the Platte, and his chief quartermaster, Maj. George 
Dandy, ordered that adobe be used, as it was cheaper. 
As adobe walls were susceptible to deterioration from 
rain, porches sheltered the front walls of the officers' 
quarters; soon after completion, boards covered the 
unprotected walls. 26 

Adobe served well for building purposes, providing 
sturdy and durable walls. As Lt. Col. Thomas M. Ander- 
son described it, "adobe houses with thick walls, are 
warm in winter and cool in summer." 27 The insulating 

property of adobe bricks was such that they were used 
to fill the spaces in the walls of wood-frame buildings, 
such as the two-story officers' quarters built at Fort 
Laramie in 1 849 and the barracks at Fort D. A. Russell 
built in 1867. 

Despite its effectiveness, adobe remained associated 
with temporary, inadequate construction in the mili- 
tary mind, either because of its association with the 
non- Anglo, Southwestern populace, or because soldiers 
were inexperienced With maintaining adobe, resulting 
in its rapid deterioration. Secretary of War William 
Belknap equated adobe with the most makeshift ac- 
commodations: "The Army is in many localities badly 
sheltered, living in huts and adobe buildings sadly in 
need of repair." 28 Adobe requires annual patching and 
occasional re-plastering; soldiers may have been un- 
aware of this need or unwilling to take on this work. 
In 1 873 Quartermaster General Meigs denied a request 
to hire outside labor to repair adobe buildings at Fort 
Union, New Mexico: "I do not think it impossible for a 
company of American troops to take care of their own 
quarters. The people of a Mexican village, less edu- 
cated — not more apt — build their village without 
recourse to the outside world, and even provide all the 
material, to shelter themselves." 29 Adobe remained a 
second-class building material in Americans' minds. 

Another use of earth for building purposes was 
rammed earth, in which wet clay was put into forms, 
then pounded and left to dry (right). Unlike adobe, 
rammed earth was set in place, much like poured con- 

21 Merrill Mattes, "Preliminary Report on the Evolution of 
Public Buildings, Old Fort Laramie" (May 1938), 19, citing 
Rockafellow diary 25 July 1865 entry, Fort Laramie Archives. 

22 "Medical History of the Post [Fort Laramie]," Records of 
Office of Adjutant General, microfilm reel H-120, Wyoming State 
Archives, 126. 

23 Army and Navy Journal 20 (30 September 1882): 199. 

24 Hoffman to Curley, 19 August 1856, McDermott files. Fort 
Laramie Archives. 

25 Hatch to assistant adjutant general, Department of the Platte, 
1 1 July 1887, cited in Thomas R. Buecker, "The 1887 Expansion 
of Fort Robinson," Nebraska History (Summer 1987), 90. 

26 Buecker, "1887 Expansion of Fort Robinson," 90. 

27 Anderson, 440. 

28 U.S. War Department, Annual Report of the Secretary of 
War (Washington: GPO, 1874) (hereafter ARSW), v. 

29 John W. Pullman to Quartermaster General, 30 June 1873, 
cited in Dwight T. Pitcaithley, "The Third Fort Union: Architec- 
ture, Adobe, and the Army," New Mexico Historical Review 57 
(1982): 131. 

Summer 1997 


crete. The quartermaster general's office touted rammed 
earth, which it called pise, as a viable building mate- 
rial for timberless regions, citing experience in Camp 
Verde, Arizona: "The walls were built by two or three 
soldiers, under direction of one skilled mason, with 
greater ease and rapidity than those built of adobes, 
and at about two-thirds only of the cost of adobe walls. 
The walls appear to be very solid, and when covered 
with an exterior coat of lime, or of hydraulic cement, 
answer perfectly their purpose." 30 To publicize this con- 
struction technique, in 1873 the Quartermaster 
General's Office produced a pamphlet titled Notes on 
Building in Concrete and Pise for the Frontier, which 
cited a dictionary on civil engineering to explain the 
process. 31 Meigs hoped that distribution of this pam- 
phlet would result in less expensive construction in the 



The quartermaster general 's office provided instruc- 
tions and illustrations for building in rammed earth. 
In the foreground wood wall forms are set up on a 
stone foundation; the rammer (spear-shaped object) is 
poised above. In the background, successive layers are 
formed and poured once the lower ones have dried. 
Illustration from Notes on Building in Concrete and 
Pise for the Frontier (Washington: War Department, 

Although pise saw its greatest use in the Southwest, 
officers in the Department of the Platte used it at least 
once, for a surviving warehouse at Fort Fetterman. The 
30 by 80 foot ordnance storehouse was built in 1879 
on a limited budget, costing only $275. The rammed- 
earth walls were covered with a coating of cement; like 
adobe, rammed earth was subject to deterioration if its 
walls were not protected. 32 

The other material promoted in the quartermaster 
general's office's pamphlet "Notes on Building in Con- 
crete and Pise for the Frontier" had a greater impact 
than pise on Department of the Platte construction. The 
published explanation of concrete came from the ex- 
perience of Lieut. William W. Rogers, acting assistant 
quartermaster at Sidney Barracks, Nebraska, in 1872. 
Rogers explained that a mixture of lime and coarse 
gravel combined with water was poured into forms to 
create walls. Rogers also noted that "a small propor- 
tion of cement — say, one-tenth — may be mixed with 
lime, and will add to the strength, durability, and fin- 
ish of the walls." 33 Rogers credited the superintendence 
of "Mr. L. Hobbs, master mechanic," in the construc- 
tion of the laundresses's quarters at Sidney Barracks, 
but it is unclear whether the introduction of concrete 
construction was due to Rogers or Hobbs. There is one 
earlier reference to a concrete building at Fort D. A. 
Russell. There, a "'grout' or concrete" building was 
constructed in 1867 or 1868 as an officers' mess hall, 
but by 1870 was used for courts-martial and school, 
probably indicating that its construction was not sound 
enough to fulfill its original purpose. 34 The army build- 
ers called the mixture of lime, water, and aggregate 
"lime grout"; it was the addition of cement that made it 

Concrete was not a common building material at this 
time, but it was known. One of its strongest advocates 
was Orson S. Fowler, better remembered for popular- 
izing octagonal houses in a book published in 1 848. In 
the revised edition of that book, issued in 1 853, Fowler 
touted the virtues of the "gravel wall," composed of 
stone, sand, and lime. "Nature's building material is 

30 ARSW (\874), 117. See also ARSW(M5), 262. Hydraulic 
cement is a cement capable of setting and hardening after the 
addition of water. 

31 U.S. War Department, Quartermaster General's Office, Notes 
on Building in Concrete and Pise for the Frontier (Washington: 
War Department, 1873), 6. 

3: Fort Fetterman, Letters Sent, 1875-1881, entry of 3 Novem- 
ber 1881, Microfilm roll 803-14, citation from Thomas Lindmier, 
South Pass City, Wyoming. 

33 Notes on Building in Concrete and Pise, 9. 

34 A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, 341-342. 


Annals or Wyoming :The Wyoming History Jc 

abundant everywhere, cheap, durable, and complete 
throughout." Fowler's book went through several 
reprintings and was widely cited. Fowler did not men- 
tion cement, but his material was similar to the army's 
"lime-grout" walls. 35 The army experimented with con- 
crete for seacoast fortifications and in 1863 Quincy 
Gillmore of the Engineer Department published .4 Prac- 
tical Treatise on Limes, Hydraulic Cements, and Mor- 
tars, which went through eleven editions. Rogers and 
Hobbs may have been drawing on either or both of 
these published works. 

At most forts, lime was available. During the initial 
construction phase, troops usually built lime kilns to 
produce lime for use in mortars. Stone and sand, too, 
were available at most sites, but cement had to be im- 
ported. Once mixed, soldiers poured the concrete into 
forms, much like the rammed earth system, waited for 
it to harden, then moved the forms up to the next row. 
Nailers were inserted into the wet concrete to allow for 
the installation of door frames, window frames, and 
lath to hold plaster on the interior walls. On the exte- 
rior, the concrete buildings were plastered, then scored 
to resemble finely dressed stone. 

Word of Rogers's success with concrete spread even 
before the Quartermaster General's Office disseminated 
the information. In November 1872 the post surgeon 
at Fort Laramie proposed construction of a new hospi- 
tal to be built of "'grout' or concrete." 36 Commanding 
General Philip Sheridan endorsed the proposal, men- 
tioning the use of concrete at Sidney Barracks. 37 In Janu- 
ary 1873 Lieutenant Rogers sent an explanation of his 
concrete construction to Major Alexander Perry, Chief 
Quartermaster of the Department of the Platte, which 
Perry then forwarded to Fort Laramie. Construction 
started at Fort Laramie in June 1 873, superintended by 

35 Orson S. Fowler, The Octagon House: A Home for All (New 
York: Dover. 1973), repr. of ,4 Home for All, or the Gravel Wall 
and Octagon Mode of Building (1853), viii, xi, 18. Rodd L. 
Wheaton, "Lime-Grout and Fort Laramie, Wyoming" (1975?), 
Fort Laramie Archives, 2. Concrete, like many building materi- 
als, originated in the ancient Mediterranean. Roman engineers 
and builders combined lime with a volcanic rock and produced a 
hard cement material. For a brief history of the use of concrete 
see Jasper Draffin, "A Brief History of Lime, Cement, Concrete, 
and Reinforced Concrete," Journal of the Western Society of En- 
gineers 48 (March 1943): 14-47, and Charles Singer, et al., eds. 
The Mediterranean Civilzations and the Middle Ages, volume 2 
of A History of Technology (New York: Oxford University Press, 
1956), 41 1. 

-'• R. M. O'Reilly, post surgeon, to Surgeon General, 22 No- 
vember 1872, in "'Medical History of the Post [Fort Laramie]," 

37 20 December 1872, Box 532, entry 225, RG 92. 

3/8" veneer of fine / 
sand and lime 


Section of a typical concrete wall section H 
at Fort Hartsuff shows how wooden nailers -£ 
were inserted into concrete to provide a •§ 
sufrace on which to nail lath and trim. 
Drawing by Kevin O 'Dell from measure- 
ments by Roye Lindsaye 

I ' !i nTil 

Summer 1997 


\: ^. 

In the adobe officers ' quarters at Fort Robinson, built in the late 1880s, a porch shelters the wall. 

(Left photo): The two-story, 272-foot-long concrete barracks for two companies at 
Fort Laramie was built in 1874. (Right): Fort D. A. Russell received dozens of new 
buildings in the first decade of this century, including these brick officers ' quarters. 


Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 

In November 1872 the post surgeon at Fort Laramie proposed construction 
of a new hospital to be built of " v grout' or concrete." 

none other than Mr. Hobbs. By October 3 1, the walls 
were up and Mr. Hobbs was discharged. 38 

An important transfer of expertise had apparently 
taken place, however, because the next summer con- 
struction began on a larger concrete building at Fort 
Laramie, a two-story barracks for two companies. (Fig. 
9.) The cost savings was a deciding factor; Post Quar- 
termaster Warrens estimated that a frame, adobe-lined 
barracks would cost $8,25 1.18, while concrete barracks 
would cost $6,1 1 1 .70. 39 Warrens requested permission 
to hire five stone and brick masons to supervise. Ap- 
parently the work went well, because the walls were 
up by the end of August, and the building still stands 
today. 40 

Fort Laramie's experience with concrete was posi- 
tive, as the material was used in the subsequent con- 
struction of all of the major buildings at the post — 
guardhouse and officers' quarters in 1 876, three sets of 
officers' quarters in 1 881, commissary storehouse, bak- 
ery, and quarters for non-commissioned officers in 
1 884, and officers' quarters and an administration build- 
ing in 1885. The construction of a concrete building 
for a sawmill in 1887 proved to be optimistic, as that 
was the last building built before the army abandoned 
the post just three years later. 

Fort Hartsuff was the only Department of the Platte 
post designed and originally constructed of concrete. 
Capt. William S. Stanton, the engineer assigned to 
Department Commander Edward O. C. Ord, suggested 
a site along the North Loup River, in part because it 
was close to a source of gravel. Workers hauled lime 
40 miles to the site, but substantial timber for building 
would have required a 125-mile trip. Barrels of cement 
arrived by rail at Grand Island, then traveled 80 miles 
overland. Lieut. Thaddeus Capron, the acting assistant 
quartermaster, hired Frederick Oswald Graham, a resi- 
dent of the nearby town of Calamus, to supervise con- 
struction of the post. With the aid of as many as 125 
civilians, Graham began construction in September 
1 874. Completed a year later, the post consisted of nine 
concrete buildings costing $1 10,000. 41 

The quality of the concrete walls must have differed 
widely. In Rogers's report of his use of concrete at 
Sidney Barracks, he enumerated the proportions of in- 
gredients: one part lime to twelve parts coarse gravel 
and sand. In subsequent concrete buildings he added 
cement to the mixture and recommended one-fifth 
part. 42 An edited version of Rogers's account was pub- 

lished as the Quartermaster General's Office pamphlet; 
in the editing, the crucial information of the proportion 
of lime to gravel was omitted. Fort Laramie used a 
formula of one part lime to twelve parts sand, and one- 
half part cement. 43 Fort Hartsuff used one part lime to 
six parts sand, and one-eighth part cement. 44 

In 1 886 the walls of Fort Robinson's concrete hospi- 
tal, built the year before, began to bow outwards. The 
civilian contractor, a Mr. B. Elliott, cited his experi- 
ence constructing concrete buildings at Fort Laramie. 
A board of officers investigating the matter concluded 
that the concrete probably had been poured too late in 
the season, with freezing temperatures interfering with 
the setting of the concrete. Inadequate foundations and 
too heavy a mansard roof for the two-story walls were 
also cited as possible causes. Post Surgeon Walter Reed 
raised the possibility that there was not enough cement 
in the mixture. 45 Whatever the cause of the problems 
with concrete in that building, the result was that the 
Department stopped using concrete as a building ma- 
terial in the late 1 880s. When the post quartermaster at 
Fort Bridger inquired about concrete for a new hospi- 
tal in 1888, Col. Thomas A. McParlin, Medical Direc- 
tor of the Platte, pointed to the Fort Robinson hospital 
and concluded that concrete was not suited for the cli- 
mate, as "the cause of the injury to the walls was due to 
action of frost." 46 

38 Charles C Sharp, "Survey Report for Stabilization Measures 
to Hospital Ruins, Building No. 13" (Fort Laramie National His- 
toric Site, 1962), 6-7. 

39 Warrens to QMG, 27 June 1873, Box 532, entry 225, RG 92. 

40 "Medical History of the Post [Fort Laramie]," 31 August 
1874 entry. 

41 Roye Lindsay to Kevin O'Dell, pers. comm., February and 
March 1997. 

42 W. W. Rogers AAQM to Major Alexander Perry, 23 January 
1873, Fort Laramie vertical file HB-5, Fort Laramie Archives. 

43 William P. Hall to Secretary of War, received at Military 
Division of Missouri 5 August 1880, Box 532, entry 225, RG 92. 
Anderson (441) reported that Fort Laramie was using a different 
formula: one part lime to ten parts sand and one-quarter part ce- 

44 Acting Assistant Surgeon George W. Towar, "Synopsis of 
the History of Fort Hartsuff, Neb. to June 1st 1875," Fort Hartsuff 
State Historical Park, Burwell, Nebraska. 

45 Proceedings of a Board of Officers convened at Fort Robinson, 
Nebraska, 16 April 1886, box 3, entry 3898 (Department of the 
Platte, QMG), Part I, RG 393. 

46 Ogle to Medical Director, 17 Feburary 1888, 3: 434, entry 29 
(letters and telegrams received), Part V (Records sent from the 
posts), RG 393. 



Although concrete dwellings may have been damp 
and cold, few such complaints appear in the written 
record. Perhaps the solidity of the walls providing se- 
curity against the high winds of the Great Plains — in 
contrast to the porous wood-frame buildings — out- 
weighed any other drawbacks to the material. But as 
our observer, Lieutenant Colonel Anderson, commented 
in a backhanded compliment, "If cheapness and dura- 
bility were the only things to be looked for, a verdict 
would have to be given for concrete walls." 47 From an 
aesthetic standpoint concrete looked too utilitarian to 
win praise as an elegant, or even desirable, material. 

Small wonder then that Anderson ultimately favored 
fired brick as "the best material for army barracks and 
quarters in every part of the country and under all cir- 
cumstances"; he described it as "light, cheap, readily 
made, easily handled, and it will last ... a long time." 48 
The main drawback to fired brick was that it required 
scarce wood to fuel the fires. Although brick kilns usu- 
ally appeared during the construction of a fort, they 
were used to provide materials for fireplaces, chim- 
neys, and bake ovens, not whole buildings. As with 
milled lumber, if great quantities of brick were needed, 
the army purchased them, and the cost of transporting 
brick far from a railroad ruled out its use at most posts. 
But its fire-resistant nature, as well as its image as el- 
egant and fashionable, made brick a favored material. 
It was fairly pliable, able to bend around bay windows 
and towers then popular in civilian residential archi- 

And as the army moved toward permanent posts in 
the 1880s, brick also filled the army's requirement of 
permanence. Fort D. A. Russell's rebuilding in the 
1880s and after, and Fort Robinson at the turn of the 
century, were effected almost entirely with brick. Stone 
too was preferred for permanent buildings, but if it were 
not available locally, then transportation costs tended 
to rule it out. Fort Douglas had the most extensive use 
of stone in the Department, reflecting the decision to 
make it a permanent post in the 1870s. The fort was 
rebuilt with nineteen new buildings — barracks and 
officers' quarters — of red sandstone, quarried locally. 49 

As the commander of the Military Division of the 
Missouri, Lt. Gen. Philip Sheridan, said in 1 883 in rec- 
ommending permanent buildings for Fort D. A. Russell, 
"they should be as permanent as those for the United 
States courts or the United States post-office." 50 With 
this, Sheridan, who became commanding general of 
the army within the year, outlined a new vision of 
Western forts. No longer would they be messy land- 
scapes of varied designs using available materials. In- 

stead, they would project a new image of military pride 
and government presence, with buildings constructed 
of permanent materials, "brick or stone of the most 
permanent character, meant to last forever." 51 (Fig. 10.) 
Having secured the frontier for settlement, the U.S. 
Army moved to reinforce its domain by the use of per- 
manent building materials. 

In its use of available materials, the army had been 
projecting another image, one of an underfunded army 
scrambling for cover in a foreign territory. Yet it learned 
from its experiences and acted creatively to fill voids. 
So army builders took the standard log cabin and 
streamlined the construction into something that could 
be effected by large numbers of unskilled workers build- 
ing large buildings. They adapted adobe, which had 
migrated north from the Southwest, and panel construc- 
tion, which had migrated south from Canada, and used 
them both. In the absence of their preferred wood, 
they experimented with rammed earth and concrete, 
trying out different ratios of materials. This image, of 
an army willing to adapt and learn in its search for 
appropriate building materials, reveals another side of 
the post-Civil War army, which preferred to project an 
image of a proud, omnipotent military force. 

47 Anderson, 441-442. 

48 Anderson, 442-443. 

49 "Overlays of History: The Architecture of Fort Douglas, 
Utah, 1862-1995," ed. Jody R. Stock (Graduate School of Archi- 
tecture, University of Utah, 1996), 13. 

50 ARSW (\SS3), 128. 

51 ARSW (1882), 12. 

Alison K. Hoagland is an assistant professor of 
history and historic preservation at Michigan Tech- 
nological University in Hougton, Michigan. Au- 
thor of Buildings of Alaska (Oxford, 1993), she is 
currently working on an architectural history of 
three Wyoming forts. Kevin O 'Dell holds the M. 
S. degree in Industrial Archaeology from Michi- 
gan Technological University, where his thesis 
concerned building technology in the Department 
of the Platte. 

shot rang out, followed by a woman's scream on 
a Sunday morning in August 1938. Cecile Lantzer 
lay dead in the yard of a south Cheyenne cabin 
camp with a bullet in her back. Her husband, Stanley 
Lantzer, appeared in the doorway of the camp store and 
handed a small caliber revolver to the frightened sixteen 
year old attendant Ralph Silverman, saying "I've just shot 
my wife. Take the gun and call the police." 1 

Stanley Lantzer was a quiet, rather inarticulate man of 
diminutive stature. He had only a seventh grade education, 
having left school to go to work and help his mother sup- 
port his younger siblings. Stanley's father was an alcoholic 
whose chronic drinking made it impossible for him to hold 
a job and support his family. 

Stanley was reported to be a hard worker, a good pro- 
vider, and a man of few vices, although he was known to 
take a drink from time to time in social situations. Folks in 
his home town of Akron, Colorado, and those who knew 
him in Brush, Colorado, where he lived after his marriage 
to Cecile, spoke highly of Stanley. They considered him a 
devoted family man — a good father to his two sons and a 
model husband to Cecile. 2 

Stanley had been married at age 20 to a Jewish woman 
named Ruth. Following his marriage Stanley converted to 
Judaism. Ruth did not know how to keep house, cook, do 
laundry or manage the household finances. Stanley was 
patient with her, handling most of the household chores 

Stanley Lantzer, 
State Penitentiary 

himself. He gave Ruth most of the money he earned work- 
ing at the Burlington round-house. Stanley and Ruth had 
two sons, Sam and Jack. Ruth would leave the babies unat- 
tended while Stanley was away and go out to dances with 
other men. Many times the children were found playing in 
the streets naked. Eventually Ruth began disappearing from 
home for several days at a time. Stanley had to miss so 
much work during this time to care for his boys that he was 
in danger of losing his job. He finally filed for divorce, 
took the boys to Akron and left them with his mother. Just 
after Stanley returned from taking the boys to Akron, Ruth 
was located living with several young boys, dubbed the 
"Soda Pop Kids" by the Denver Post, who had been in- 
volved in a number of robberies in the Denver area. Ruth 
was declared an unfit mother and custody of Sam and Jack 
was given to Stanley and his mother. 3 

Stanley worked for the Burlington-Northern Railroad. He 
married Cecile, a divorced mother of four, in 1936. During 

1 Wyoming Eagle, 30 August 1938. 

2 Trial transcript, State of Wyoming v. Stanley Lantzer, Wyo- 
ming State Archives and Historical Department, Cheyenne: 1938. 

3 Information on Lantzer' s marriage to Ruth was obtained from 
letters written by Ruth and Lantzer's sister Vernice Lewis to Wyo- 
ming Governor Nels Smith in 1940. See Nels Smith Papers, 1926 - 
1943, Accession Number 9880, Box 1, Folder 8, American Heri- 
tage Center, University of Wyoming. 

Summer 199? 

the early months of their marriage Cecile accompanied 
Stanley wherever the railroad sent him. They lived in small 
apartments or rooming houses. In time, Cecile tired of this 
arrangement and expressed a desire to put down roots and 
have a home of their own. Stanley arranged to purchase a 
small house in Brush, Colorado, only a few doors away 
from the home of Floyd Drake, Cecile's first husband. 
Stanley also purchased furniture for the house. For reasons 
never fully explained, both the house and furniture were 
purchased in Cecile's name, rather than jointly. 

Often Stanley's work took him away from home during 
the week, but he always managed to catch a train home 
each weekend. While away from home Stanley faithfully 
wrote to Cecile four times each week. Everyone who knew 
them felt Stanley was deeply in love with Cecile. They gave 
every appearance of being a devoted and happy couple. 
Sam, Stanley's older son, continued to reside with his grand- 
mother in Akron, Colorado. However, Jackie, the younger 
son became quite attached to Cecile and preferred to live 
with his father and stepmother. Cecile's oldest daughter 
Anne also lived in the Lantzer home, while Cecile's three 
other children lived with their father a few doors away. 

Stanley's job with the railroad made it possible for him 
to live in more comfortable circumstances than many oth- 
ers during the years of the Great Depression. However, less 
than a year after marrying Cecile, Stanley was laid off. 
Worried over how he would make the mortgage payment 
and the monthly payments on their new furniture, Stanley 
became increasingly depressed. Within a month he was able 
to find work in the beet fields. Despite his protests, Cecile 
insisted on working in the fields also. After the beet har- 
vest Stanley worked a number of other agriculturally-re- 
lated jobs, such as putting up hay and harvesting wheat. 
Again, his work often took him far from home for several 
weeks at a time, but he never neglected to write his four 
weekly letters to Cecile, or to mail the bulk of his earnings 
to her on payday. 

Cecile's father was a psychiatric patient at the Colorado 
State Hospital. Cecile's mother, Anna Hagan, came to live 
with Stanley and Cecile soon after they bought the house in 
Brush. However, this arrangement only lasted a few months. 
Mrs. Hagan moved into a place of her own, stating that 
Cecile was unkind to her. 4 Mrs. Hagan got along well with 
Stanley, in spite of her difficulties with Cecile. Cecile's 
brothers and their wives were also fond of Stanley. Stanley 
and his in-laws had a close, affectionate relationship. After 
Mrs. Hagan moved out of the Lantzer home, the couple 
rented one of their rooms and their sleeping porch to board- 
ers in an attempt to make ends meet during the lean eco- 
nomic times they were facing. 

Stanley Lantzer — a model husband, devoted father, good 
provider, hard worker, responsible community member, a 
man of moderate habits — appeared to have wanted noth- 
ing more from life than to live with Cecile and make her 
happy. What led Stanley to become the second man to die 
in Wyoming's gas chamber? 


n July 1938, Stanley was working on a farm in 
Kansas when he received a cryptic call from 
Bill Shaw, one of his boarders. Shaw asked 
how soon Stanley would be coming home. 

Stanley replied that he did not want to come home until 
the wheat harvest was over because he needed the money 
for his mortgage. Shaw would not state the purpose of his 
call, but urged Stanley to come home at once, saying he 
would discuss the trouble with him when Stanley arrived. 
Fearful that some harm had come to Cecile or the boys, 
Stanley caught the first bus back to Colorado. After arriv- 
ing in Brush, Stanley stopped at the home of Cecile's friend, 
Mrs. Mollie O'Daniels, to find out what the trouble was 
with his family. Mrs. O'Daniels told Stanley that Cecile 
and Anne had run away with a carnival that had come to 
Brush on the Fourth of July. Mrs. O'Daniels' daughter, 
Bonnie Burchel, had also gone with the carnival. Stanley 
could not believe what he was hearing. He inquired of oth- 
ers about town, including Cecile's brother Raymond, who 
gave Stanley a detailed explanation of what had been oc- 
curring during his absence. 

According to Raymond, Cecile and her friend Minnie 
Newton had been entertaining men in Stanley's home dur- 
ing the times he was out of town. Reportedly, it was not 
uncommon for numerous men to be in the house with the 
women, drinking and partying. (Minnie Newton's former 
husband Robert confirmed this also.) Cecile was reported 
to have been spending nights away from home, sleeping 
with various men at a local rooming house and at a cabin 
camp in Brush, where her sister-in-law who lived nearby 
had observed her sneaking out of various cabins in the early 
morning hours. Cecile was also reported to have been a 
frequent participant in strip poker games at the home of her 
brother Tom. 

When a carnival came to town for the 4th of July cel- 
ebration, Cecile reportedly lost no time in contracting with 
the carnival to work as an exotic dancer in a side show for 
"Men Only." Described as a "hula-hula dancer," Cecile's 
duties apparently required her to briefly perform in cos- 
tume in front of the tent to entice men to buy tickets for the 
show. During the show, Cecile and the other dancers would 
perform the "hula-hula" inside the tent for their male audi- 
ence. The "hula-hula" involved shedding their grass skirts, 
removing their brassieres and dancing nude except for their 
"bloomers." 5 Cecile performed in the carnival side show 
in Brush for several days and her performance was observed 
by many men in the community during that time. 

Stanley attempted to find where the carnival had gone. 
He and his brother-in-law Raymond Hagan eventually lo- 

4 It was later reported that Cecile had threatened to kill her mother 
and forced her to move out after Mrs. Hagan had threatened to tell 
Stanley that Cecile was seeing other men and giving drunken par- 
ties while Stanley was working out of town. See letter from Vernice 
Lewis to Governor Nels Smith referenced n. 3. 

5 Trial transcript, 92. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

cated the carnival in Julesburg, Colorado, but failed to find 
Cecile. The carnival manager told them that Cecile did not 
continue to work for him after the carnival left Brush, but 
he did not know where she and Anne had gone. Raymond 
and Stanley returned home where, according to relatives, 
Stanley's depression worsened. Family members later tes- 
tified that Stanley was obsessed with finding Cecile and 
bringing her back home. He could talk of nothing else. Fam- 
ily members began to fear that Stanley was becoming men- 
tally ill. It appears from testimony later given by Stanley's 
friends and relatives that Stanley was engaging in complete 
denial with regard to Cecile 's behavior. He could not cope 
with the reports of Cecile' s infidelity and her abandonment 
of their marriage in a realistic and rational manner. He did 
not hold Cecile accountable for her actions, he only perse- 
vered on the hope of finding her and bringing her home 
where they could resume life as before. Stanley maintained 
that he had never suspected Cecile of being unfaithful and 
could not fathom the reason for her behavior. Stanley did 
not appear to be at all angry with Cecile, just devastated by 
her abandonment and desperate to find her and bring her 
back home. 

Stanley finally discovered that Cecile, Anne and Minnie 
Newton were living together in Cheyenne. He came by this 
information when he discovered a letter written by Cecile 
to Mrs. Loving, one of the Lantzer's boarders. Stanley drove 
to Cheyenne and located Cecile. He tried to persuade Cecile 
to come home with him, but she stated that she did not 
want to come right away. Cecile asked Stanley to go home 
and find another job, and she would think about coming 
home later when he had a little money. 

Stanley reluctantly agreed, and found work on a farm in 
Kansas. Cecile reneged on her promise to come home. At 
some time during this period Stanley's son Jack moved to 
Cheyenne to live with Cecile. After finishing the job in 
Kansas, Stanley and a friend found work haying near 
Walden, Colorado. They traveled to Cheyenne before go- 
ing to Walden and Stanley again asked Cecile to come back 
home and help him face down all the scandal in Brush. 
Cecile refused, but said that if Stanley returned from the 
job in Walden with some money, she would go back home 
with him then. Relieved, Stanley and his friend continued 
on to the new job. 

After finishing the job in Walden, Stanley and his friend 
passed through Denver. Stanley told his friend that he was 
going to remain in Denver for a few days to get a with- 
drawal card from his union so he would not have to con- 
tinue to pay dues. Stanley had also heard an acquaintance 
of his talking about someone who had joined the Foreign 
Legion. Stanley told his friend that he wanted to get more 
information about the Foreign Legion while he was in Den- 
ver, and find out if it would be possible for him to join. 6 
While in Denver, Stanley visited a pawn shop and purchased 
a .25 caliber revolver and some shells. Stanley stated that 
he had always wanted a gun like that, and bought it with 
the intention of taking it home and showing it to his brother. 
He later denied having any intention of buying the gun when 

he wandered into the shop, but rather happened to see the 
gun and purchased it on an impulse. The following day 
Stanley took a bus to Cheyenne intending to see Cecile and 
bring her back home to Brush. 

Stanley arrived in Cheyenne on Saturday, August 27, 
1938. He went to Minnie Newton's home and asked for 
Cecile. Minnie said that Cecile was working at the Lone 
Eagle Cabin Camp in south Cheyenne. Minnie left to go 
get Cecile and Stanley remained at the house, chatting with 
Minnie's son Ralph, a soldier stationed at Fort Warren. Early 
in the afternoon Cecile returned to the house and she and 
Stanley went into the kitchen to talk privately. Again Stanley 
begged Cecile to come home with him and again she re- 
fused, stating that she could "make it" in Cheyenne and did 
not want to go back to Brush with Stanley and "starve." 
Stanley told her that he did not know what to do about the 
house and furniture and asked her to sign it over to him if 
she would not come home, but Cecile refused to do that 
also. Suddenly, Minnie and Ralph heard Cecile yell, "Put 
that gun away!" They rushed into the kitchen and found 
Stanley sitting on a daybed and Cecile standing across the 
room. Stanley had his hand under his sweater. Minnie asked 
if he had a gun and he said, "Maybe." Minnie took Cecile 
out in the yard and Ralph sat down with Stanley and per- 
suaded him to give up the gun. Cecile stated she was not 
afraid of Stanley and asked Minnie not to call the police 
because they would take Stanley to jail and "that is no place 
for him. 7 Ralph told Stanley that they kill people in Wyo- 
ming who commit murder, and Stanley reportedly replied, 
"I don't care what happens to me." He apologized for caus- 
ing the trouble and stated that he only wanted to scare Cecile 
with the gun. He left the house soon afterward, but returned 
later with a carton of cigarettes for Cecile. Minnie and Ralph 
later testified that when Stanley returned to the house, he 
was in good spirits. Minnie returned the gun to him, but 
kept the bullets. 

The following morning Stanley bought a half-pint of whis- 
key, drank it, and reloaded the gun. He took a cab to the 
Lone Eagle Cabin Camp where he asked the attendant Ralph 
Silverman to direct him to where Cecile was working. Ralph 
stated that Cecile was washing clothes and directed Stanley 
to the washroom. Ralph then returned to his work in the 
camp store. Reportedly, Stanley again asked Cecile to come 
home, and once again she refused, telling him it was no use 
talking to her about it anymore. Cecile left the washroom 
with a basket of clothes to hang on the line and Stanley 
went into the men's restroom. When he came out he once 
again asked if there was any use talking and Cecile said no. 
Stanley took the gun from his pocket and shot Cecile in the 
back. Cecile screamed and ran a few steps before crum- 
pling on the ground. The bullet had passed through her lung 
and nicked the tip of her heart. 

Ralph heard the shot and Cecile's scream. Before Ralph 
could reach the door to go out and investigate, Stanley ap- 

6 Ibid, 119. 

7 Wyoming Eagle, 30 August 1938. 

Summer 1997 


peared in the doorway with the gun which he handed to 
Ralph,, saying "I've just shot my wife. the police." 
Stanley then entered the store and wandered around aim- 
lessly for a few minutes. Ralph was so upset he could not 
place the call, so he ran across the street to a filling station 
and had the employees there make the call for him. He 
returned to the store to find Stanley quietly sitting in a chair 
waiting for the police. Ralph's uncle, Max Goldhammer, 
awakened from a nap by the commotion, had come to in- 
vestigate and was sitting with Stanley in the store. 
Goldhammer reported that Stanley mentioned that he wished 
the police would hurry, and then mumbled something about 
wanting to talk to a rabbi. Oddly, no one went outside to 
check on Cecile, but rather simply accepted Stanley's state- 
ment that she was dead. 

Laramie County Sheriff George Carroll, Undersheriff E. 
D. Brown, and Chief of Detectives Harvey Jackson re- 
sponded to the call to the Lone Eagle Cabin Camp. It took 
them somewhat longer to respond than usual, because Brown 
had to locate his camera so he could photograph the crime 
scene. After arriving at the Lone Eagle Camp, the law en- 
forcement officers went directly to the camp store where 
they found Lantzer waiting for them. Goldhammer and 
Silverman identified Lantzer as the killer. Undersheriff 
Brown asked, "Where is your wife?" and Stanley replied, 
"She is out there on the ground." Brown asked Stanley if he 

killed her and Stanley replied, "I shot her for dead" or words 
to that effect. (None of the witnesses to this conversation 
could agree on Lantzer' s exact words.) 8 

Like Goldhammer and Silverman, the law enforcement 
officers also took Stanley at his word, and no one made any 
effort to determine whether or not Cecile was actually dead, 
and render aid if she was not. The law enforcement officers 
continued to interview Lantzer and the other men inside 
the camp store. Ralph Silverman turned the gun over to the 
officers. They noted that it was jammed, with an empty 
shell in the ejector, and could not be fired. Eventually Carroll 
and Brown left Stanley in the custody of Detective Jackson 
and wandered out in the yard "to see if Mrs. Lantzer was 
dead." 9 By this time more than half an hour had elapsed 
since Cecile had been shot. According to testimony given 
by Brown, he was the officer who finally inquired where 
Cecile's body was located because "I was interested to find 
out where she was at so I could take some pictures." 10 

The officers found Cecile lying on the ground between 
cabins 19 and 20 and began to photograph her. By Brown's 
admission, no one touched her to check for a pulse or to 
otherwise check for signs of life. They simply made a vi- 

8 Trial transcript, 24-25. 

9 Testimony given by Laramie County Sheriff George Carroll. 
See Ibid, 28. 

w Ibid., 34. 

The body of Cecile Lantzer at the crime scene, Lone Eagle Cabin Camp, south Cheyenne, 1938. This photograph 
was introduced into evidence in the trial. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Another view of the crime scene, showing the victim 's body and the buildings of the tourist camp complex 

sual determination that she was dead and proceeded with 
the photographs of the crime scene. (It should be noted 
that because of the position of Cecile's body, no wound or 
blood was visible, so the officers did not have any means 
of determining definitely that she had been shot without 
moving her.) 

Detective Jackson conducted Stanley to the police car 
while Carroll and Brown completed their initial investiga- 
tion. Stanley asked Jackson to move the car to a position 
where it would not be possible for him to view his wife's 
body and Jackson complied. Carroll and Brown joined 
Stanley and Detective Jackson in the car and started back 
to the jail. No one had yet advised Stanley that any state- 
ments he made could be used against him, or issued any 
statement consistent with what would twenty years later be 
known as a Miranda warning. On the ride to the jail Stanley 
became somewhat expansive, allegedly stating that he felt 
more rested than he had in six weeks "now that this is over." 
Stanley also reportedly stated to the officers that after shoot- 
ing Cecile, he had first thought of running away, but he 
decided "What is the use? I will just stay and take what is 
coming to me."" Sheriff Carroll stated that no one ques- 
tioned Stanley in the car on the way to the jail. He insisted 
that Stanley made these statements to them voluntarily while 
he was "technically but not formally arrested." 12 

After arriving at the jail the officers "formally" arrested 
Stanley, finally advised him that anything he said might be 
used against him, and requested that he make a statement. 
Court Reporter Clarence Ferguson was summoned to the 
jail to take down the statement. 13 Also present was Robert 
G. Caldwell, County and Prosecuting Attorney for Laramie 
County. No counsel had been obtained for Lantzer at this 
point. Caldwell advised Stanley that anything he said could 

be used against him and asked if Stanley understood this. 
Stanley indicated that he did. Caldwell then stated "and 
with the full knowledge that anything you might say may 
be used against you, you still wish to make this statement? 
You have no objections, do you?" Stanley replied, "Well, 
I don't know. I don't know what to think or say or do." 
Caldwell then said, "You have no objections to telling us 
the facts in this case?" Stanley answered, "There is some 
facts that I wouldn't want to bring up. No characters or 
anything like that." Caldwell pressed on, stating, "And now 
I wish to ask you some questions relating to the facts of 
what occurred this morning. There will be a few short ques- 
tions. That is agreeable to you, is it?" Stanley replied, "I 
guess it is." Caldwell reiterated, "You are willing to an- 
swer these questions? If you don't want to answer them, 
why, you can refuse. Is that all right?" Stanley answered, 
"That is absolutely all right." 

Caldwell then questioned Stanley about the events lead- 
ing up to the shooting of Cecile. Stanley was cooperative, 
answering all of Caldwell's questions and providing infor- 
mation that would be consistent with testimony given by 
other witnesses at the time of the trial. However, when ques- 
tioned about the actual shooting, Stanley did not deny shoot- 
ing Cecile, but his memory of the incident was unclear. 
Stanley stated, " I told her I think this was the last chance, 
if I remember right, to come on home with me, but that part 
of it doesn't make any difference, but I asked her to come 
on back home with me... she said no, there wasn't any use 

11 Ibid, 31. 

12 Ibid., 29. 

13 A copy of Lantzer's statement may be found in State of Wyo- 
ming v. Stanley Lantzer, Plaintiffs Exhibit #7. 




talking." "Then what did you do?" Caldwell prompted. 
Stanley replied, "I know I reached for the gun, and outside 
of that it is kind of a dreamy blank to me." Caldwell asked, 
"You remember that you shot her, do you not?" Stanley 
then said, "No, I don't." Hoping to establish intent, Caldwell 
then asked, "Mr. Lantzer, when did you first make up your 
mind to kill your wife?" Stanley responded, "Oh, I don't 
know for sure. I have been thinking of it for a month. She 
told me when I come here going to North Park that she 
would go back home with me when I came back through 
Cheyenne. I thought and talked myself out of it for a month." 
When asked if he had been drinking prior to the shooting, 
Stanley stated that he had consumed some whiskey. 
Caldwell asked, "You were not drunk when you shot your 
wife, were you?" Stanley answered, "No, I don't suppose I 
could have been." Caldwell then asked, "You knew what 
you were doing, didn't you?" Stanley answered, "Oh, I don't 
know whether I did or not." 

Later, during the interview, Caldwell broached the sub- 
ject of Cecile's not wanting to return to Stanley, suggesting 
that Cecile was involved with someone else. Stanley's de- 
nial of the realities of his relationship with Cecile is evi- 
dent in his outright dismissal of Caldwell's suggestion. 
Stanley stated, "Well, I hate to say anything about that be- 
cause — Well, I don't want to say anything about her at 
all. ..It concerns somebody else. ..I am satisfied that that 
wasn't the cause at all." Caldwell inquired, "Did she tell 
you she did not love you any more?" Stanley insisted, "No, 
she didn't tell me. I begged her to. I told her if she didn't 
love me, I would go off and leave her alone and not bother 
her any more, if she would tell me that." Caldwell then 
asked, "Did she refuse to live with you this morning?" 
Stanley replied, "Well, yes and no. She said there wasn't 
any more use of talking or begging her to come back." 

Later in the interview, Caldwell and Stanley engaged in 
the following exchange: 

Caldwell: "All of the story you have told us is substantially 
true, is it?" 

Lantzer: "As near as I can remember, yes." 
Caldwell: "You are in your right mind mentally, are you?" 
Lantzer: "As to that, I wouldn't say." 
Caldwell: "Do you feel that you are mentally all right?" 
Lantzer: "No, I don't." 
Caldwell: "What is the matter with you?" 
Lantzer: "Well, for the last two months there have been 
times I just haven't felt right that I know of. I might be, but 
there has been times I didn't feel just right... Things are hard 
to remember at times. I am trying to think something about 
it. Seems like it is all a jumble before I can get it thought 

The interview transcript indicates that Caldwell and 
Carroll terminated the interview and held a conversation 
with Stanley off the record. The interview was resumed a 
short time later with the transcript indicating the following 

Caldwell: "You have just stated that you once told your 
wife that you would kill her if she ever left you?" 

Lantzer: "Yes, and then I told her I couldn't do anything 

like that." 

Caldwell: "You couldn't?" 

Lantzer: "Yes." 

Caldwell: "Where did you tell her you were going to kill 


Lantzer: "I imagine it was at home there as near as I know." 

Caldwell: "Several years ago?" 

Lantzer: "Well, it is since we have been married. I wouldn't 

say for sure." 14 

Caldwell: "She never has gone out with other men, has she?" 

Lantzer: "Well, no." 

Caldwell: "Did you ever accuse her of going out with other 


Lantzer: "No." 

Caldwell: "Then why did you shoot her, Stanley." 

Lantzer: "I couldn't think of anything else at the time." 

Caldwell: "You realized at the time you shot her — that 

something might happen to you, what the law would do, 

didn't you?" 

Lantzer: "No, I didn't... Well, I guess I did. I never tried to 

think much about that." 

Caldwell: "Now, did you feel this way: That you didn't 

care what happened to you after you shot her?" 

Lantzer: "Yes." 

Caldwell: "How do you feel about it now?" 

Lantzer: "Well, there is only one way to feel about it. I am 

sorry, awfully sorry, and I wish I hadn't done it. I wanted 

her to be alive and to go back to my mother and father and 

take up my life before I met her." 

Caldwell: "Do you feel that in view of the fact that you 

killed your wife, the State ought to condemn you to death? 

Don't you feel that way.. .and you expect that, don't you, 


Lantzer: "Yes, I can't expect nothing else." 

Later, when the statement had been typed up and pre- 
sented to Stanley for his signature, he refused to sign, stat- 
ing that certain parts of the statement did not reflect his 
meaning and were inaccurate. 

The morning following Stanley's arrest, the banner head- 
SLAYER HERE" screamed from the front page of the 
Wyoming Eagle. Pictures of Cecile, Stanley, Ralph 
Silverman and Stanley's son Jack filled the front page. The 
Eagle reported that "Jackie Hates His Dad" and went on 
to state that when told of the crime, Jackie had said to re- 
porters, "Sure take his picture, take his picture with pink 
pants on." Apparently, Jackie considered this the ultimate 
insult he could offer his father for taking the life of his 
beloved step-mother. A more bizarre story related that 
Cecile, an amateur fortune teller had foretold her own death 

14 Testimony was given during the trial in relation to this exceipt 
of Stanley's statement which indicates that the exchange between 
Stanley and Cecile took place soon after they were married and the 
statements were made in jest during a lover's conversation. 

15 Wyoming Eagle, 30 August 1938. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

on the Friday night prior to the shooting. Minnie Newton 
had reported that Cecile had commented to her daughter 
Anne and Mrs. Newton, "Girls, I'm afraid I'm not going to 
be with you long. Here's three nines, that means I'm going 
to die." 15 

Stanley's arrest provided the Wyoming Eagle and other 
papers in the state with hot copy for nearly a week. Minnie 
Newton basked in the attention she received from the me- 
dia, stating in one interview that the motive for the murder 
could be found in Lantzer loving Cecile too much 16 By the 
first of September the media had exhausted interviews with 
the attorneys, witnesses, and relatives of Lantzer connected 
with the case. In a last gasp effort to milk something else 
from the sensational murder case the Wyoming Eagle ran a 
front page story announcing that "APPETITE OF WIFE- 
SLAYER IS UNAFFECTED" which went on to inform 
its readers that Stanley Lantzer ate "just as much as the 
other prisoners." 

Allen A. Pearson was appointed as Stanley's attorney, 
and the trial was scheduled to begin on December 6, 1938. 

tanley Lantzer was a man who loved too much. 
He never said an ill word about his first wife 
Ruth, despite her unfaithfulness. Stanley was 
also very reluctant to say anything detrimental about 
Cecile's character. If fact, it appears that Stanley actually 
believed that there was nothing detrimental to be said about 

This was a man who had never been charged with so 
much as a traffic violation prior to his arrest, yet who, within 
the space of two months' time, had been involved in be- 
havior which could be characterized as stalking, and had 
menaced and then murdered his wife with a pistol. Stanley 
Lantzer appeared to change from a rational, responsible, 
law-abiding member of his community to a man completely 
out of touch with the reality of his broken marriage and 
unable to understand or cope with his wife's rejection. Those 
close to him felt that Stanley appeared to be suffering from 
impaired short term memory. His affect was reported to be 
remarkably flat and unemotional. He was extremely pas- 
sive in interactions with others from the moment he re- 
ported the murder until the moment he was strapped into 
the chair in the Wyoming Penitentiary's gas chamber. 

Was Stanley Lantzer a cunning, cold-blooded murderer, 
who feigned memory loss in an attempt to save himself 
from the gas chamber? Or was he a man so overcome with 
depression and delusional thinking that his capacity for ra- 
tional behavior had become eroded by his impaired sanity? 
These questions and others would become the nucleus of 
the both the defense and prosecution strategies in the up- 
coming trial. 

The sensational trial of Stanley Lantzer, began on De- 
cember 6, 1938, in a court room filled to capacity with 
concerned relatives and eager spectators. Although Allen 
Pearson had initially planned to request a sanity hearing 
for Stanley prior to the trial, he abandoned the plan for 

reasons not fully explained, opting instead to call Dr. H. R. 
Rothman, a psychiatrist at the Veteran's Administration 
Hospital in Cheyenne, to attest to Stanley's mental condi- 
tion at the time of the murder. 

The sensationalism of the trial was compounded by the 
astonishing fact that Cecile's mother, brother Raymond, 
and sister-in-law Ellen were the primary defense witnesses. 
As expected Minnie Newton, her son Ralph, and Cecile's 
daughter Anne Drake were witnesses for the prosecution. 
Cecile's friend Mollie O'Daniels and her daughter Bonnie 
Burchel also had traveled from Brush, Colorado to be present 
for the trial. 

While all other witnesses were sequestered, Dr. Rothman, 
the psychiatrist testifying for the defense, and Dr. Phillip 
Work, a psychologist testifying for the prosecution were 
allowed to remain in the courtroom and observe the testi- 
mony of all witnesses. 

The trial lasted two days, with the case going to the jury 
on the afternoon of December 7, 1938. The parade of wit- 
nesses gave testimony consistent with the chain of events 
related by Stanley in his statement to George Caldwell and 
Sheriff Carroll at the time of his arrest. Although express- 
ing grief over Cecile's death, Mrs. Hagan, Cecile's mother, 
steadfastly defended Stanley as a model husband who had 
never intended any harm to come to Cecile. Raymond and 
Ellen Hagan supported Mrs. Hagan' s assessment of Stanley, 
but also expressed concerns for Stanley's mental health and 
were more explicit in their descriptions of Cecile's activi- 
ties in the months before her death. It was Robert Newton, 
Minnie Newton's former husband, testifying for the' defense 
who first revealed that Cecile had been dancing nearly nude 
in the carnival side-show. Stanley had not volunteered that 
information. The most interesting testimony in the case came 
from Stanley Lantzer himself. 

Stanley took the stand on the second day of the trial. In 
the lengthy testimony given by Stanley, it became appar- 
ent that he was still troubled with short-term memory loss. 
While the prosecution contended that Stanley's memory 
lapses were feigned, the fact that Stanley consistently ac- 
cepted responsibility for acts which he stated he could not 
remember leaves the prosecution's contention open to scru- 
tiny. Stanley continued to manifest a flat affect throughout 
the course of the trial, with the exception of times during 
recesses when he was observed occasionally smiling while 
quietly talking with members of his family. During his tes- 
timony Stanley spoke in a low voice which was at times 
barely audible. He had to be frequently reminded by the 
attorneys and the judge to speak up. 

Stanley was able to recount with relative accuracy events 
in his life prior to the murder, although he began to have 
difficulty recalling the gist of conversations with friends 
and relatives after he returned to Brush to discover that 
Cecile had abandoned him. 

When asked about the gun he had purchased in Denver, 
Stanley testified that he wanted the gun for protection when 

16 Wyoming Eagle, 31 August 1938. 

Summer 199? 

he returned to work on the railroad because when he worked 
out of town, it was dangerous to walk through the rail yards 
at night on his way to the sleeping quarters. 

Allen Pearson led Stanley through a recital of the events 
which occurred on August 28th at Minnie Newton's house. 
He then reminded Stanley that Ralph Newton had testified 
as to the nature of these events earlier and asked Stanley if 
Ralph's testimony was correct. Stanley replied, "I don't 
remember exactly but in the conversation yesterday, it 
sounded about like the conversation we had... word for word, 
I couldn't say." Stanley was similarly vague about his ac- 
tions on the morning of the shooting, admitting that he re- 
loaded the gun, but not able to be sure if he had done it that 
day or the night before. When questioned about the actual 
shooting Stanley gave the following testimony: 

"Well, I asked her if she cared for me. She said she 
wouldn't — That she cared for me. I believe that is what 
she said. I know she didn't tell me she didn't care for me... 
I asked her 'Cec, is there any more use talking to you?' She 
said no, there wasn't any more use talking to her. I asked 
her if that was the last chance I would have to talk with her, 
because I had to go home, and I think she said, 'Yes.' The 
next thing I remember of is reaching for this gun and start- 
ing to point it... I just got a kind of faint picture of her 
screaming. I never heard no shot, and I never knew I was 
starting to run, but when I kind of come to myself I saw this 
fellow standing there, this fellow who testified... It seemed 
like before I was looking at him I kind of wanted to run off 
or get away from there or throw the gun away... I couldn't 
tell just what was going on... the next thing I remember 
was the police officer there. I told this man I wanted him to 
get a Jewish rabbi to come down and see me on account of 
my children if he possibly could." 17 

Pearson next questioned Stanley about the statement he 
had given in the presence of George Caldwell and Sheriff 
Carroll and his reasons for not signing it. Stanley stated 
that he had not signed the statement because "there was 
several places in there was wrote different than what I meant 
then when I spoke them." Later, on cross examination by 
County Attorney Caldwell, a portion of the statement was 
read and Stanley was asked if he remembered making the 
statement to Caldwell and Sheriff Carroll. Stanley answered, 
"Well, I don't remember of it, but I wouldn't deny it." 
Stanley's testimony continued along an essentially similar 
vein with Stanley insisting that he had no memory of cer- 
tain events, but also agreeing that he must have done or 
said the things reported, regardless of whether or not he 
could remember them. 

Dr. Rothman testified that he had interviewed Stanley 
and observed the testimony of all the witnesses and, on the 
basis of these observations and interviews, had come to the 
conclusion that Stanley Lantzer was insane at the time he 
shot Cecile. Dr. Rothman stated that severe depression and 
emotional trauma could induce such a state and could im- 
pair short term memory of such an event. 

Dr. Phillip Work, a Denver psychiatrist, challenged Dr. 
Rothman's conclusions, stating that the type of amnesia 


from which Stanley was purportedly suffering was feigned. 
Dr. Work, who based his evaluation on the same criteria as 
Dr. Rothman, testified that while Stanley was emotionally 
upset at the time of the shooting, he was, nevertheless, sane. 

he jury deliberated for two hours before re- 
turning a verdict of "Guilty of Murder in the 
First Degree"on the sixth ballot. Three jurors 
held out for life imprisonment rather than the death pen- 
alty, but one by one, they eventually joined the other jurors 
in condemning Lantzer. When the verdict was read, Stanley 
did not appear to understand that the unqualified verdict 
meant that the death penalty would be imposed. He turned 
to his attorney and quietly asked a question, then grimaced 
and turned to stare incredulously at the jury. 18 Formal sen- 
tencing was postponed until the following day, when Judge 
Sam Thompson sentenced Stanley to die in the gas cham- 
ber of the Wyoming State Penitentiary before sunrise on 
January 20, 1939. 

Stanley was transferred from the Cheyenne jail to death 
row at the Wyoming Penitentiary a few days after his sen- 
tencing. Stanley's brother Elbert and his other siblings, as 
well as Cecile 's relatives, hurried home to Akron and Brush 
where they began a campaign in the two communities to 
raise money to fund an appeal for Stanley. The money was 
quickly raised by well-wishers in the two communities and 
Allen Pearson filed an appeal on December 19, 1938, gain- 
ing a temporary stay of execution for Stanley Lantzer. 

Pearson filed a motion for a new trial on December 15, 
1938. Four days later, he filed an appeal. The appeal listed 
twenty-nine points of error which Pearson alleged to have 
occurred during Stanley's trial. The motion for new trial 
listed eight points of error in support. The major issues in 
both documents centered around the refusal of the court to 
give certain instructions to the jury, the introduction of the 
photographs of Cecile taken after her death, the admissibil- 
ity of Stanley's statement given to Caldwell following 
Stanley's arrest, and the contention that the unqualified 
verdict was the result of passion or prejudice on the part of 
the jury and was excessive and contrary to law. 

In the Specifications of Error, Pearson stated that the 
District Court erred in refusing to give the following in- 
structions offered by the defendant: 

...The evidence or oral statements of guilt is to be re- 
ceived with great caution; for there, besides the danger of 
mistake from the misapprehension of witnesses, the misuse 
of words, the failure of the party to express his own mean- 
ings, and the infirmity of memory, it should be recalled that 
the mind of the prisoner himself is often oppressed by the 
calamity of his situation, and that he is often influenced 
by motives of hope or fear to make an untrue statement. 
Subject to these cautions in receiving and weighing them, 
it is generally agreed that deliberate statements of guilt 

17 Trial transcript, 129-130. 

18 Wyoming Eagle, 9 December 1940. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

are among the most effectual proofs in the law. Their value, 
however, depends on the supposition that they are delib- 
erate and voluntary, and are on the presumption that a ra- 
tional being will not make admissions prejudicial to his 
interests and safety, unless when urged by the promptings 
of truth and conscience. Were [Lantzer 's statements] made 
deliberately, intelligently and with understanding on the 
part of the prisoner? 

You are instructed that acts which might constitute mur- 
der in the first degree may, if sufficient provocation for the 
doing of the act by defendant appears, reduce the degree of 
the crime to manslaughter. It is your duty in determining 
the adequacy of the provocation, if any, to consider... all 
the facts and circumstances. this case, and if you find 
that by reason thereof the defendant's mind at the time of 
the killing was incapable of cool reflection and that said 
facts and circumstances were sufficient to produce such a 
state of mind in a person of ordinary temper, then the proof 
of the sufficiency of the provocation satisfies the require- 
ments of the law... 

In determining whether the provocation is sufficient to 
reduce homicide to manslaughter, ordinary human nature 
or the average of man recognized as men of fair average 
mind and disposition should be taken as the standard, un- 
less the person whose guilt is in question be found to have 
some particular weakness of mind or infirmity of temper 
not arising from wickedness of heart or cruelty of disposi- 

Pearson also alleged that the introduction of the photo- 
graphs of Cecile taken by Brown at the scene of the shoot- 
ing served no purpose but to prejudice the minds of the jury 
against Stanley. Pearson's reasoning was based on the fact 
that Stanley had already admitted to killing his wife, and 
the photographs did not show the wound, or contribute fur- 
ther meaningful evidence related to the killing. 

The admission into evidence of Stanley's statement given 
shortly after his arrest was also alleged to constitute error 
on the part of the court. Pearson based his objection on two 
points — first, that the prosecution failed to show that the 
statement was made voluntarily, and second, that the tran- 
script does not show all that was said during the interroga- 
tion, and indicates that an important conversation between 
Stanley, Caldwell and Sheriff Carroll took place off the 
record. The challenged portion of the transcript shows that 
Caldwell says to Stanley "That is all." Then the transcrip- 
tionist notes, "Whereupon, colloquy off the record was had 
between Mr. Caldwell, Mr. Carroll, and the witness [Stanley 
Lantzer]." Thereafter, questioning was resumed by the pros- 
ecuting attorney. 

he Wyoming Supreme Court considered 
Lantzer' s appeal and issued an opinion 
on February 13, 1940, affirming the de- 
cision of the District Court. 19 With regard to the admission 
into evidence of the statement given by Stanley following 

his arrest, the Supreme Court stated that it had found noth- 
ing to indicate that Stanley had been induced to speak by 
threat or promise, and therefore, it was the opinion of the 
court that the statement had been given voluntarily. Also, 
the court dismissed the objection to the issue of the "collo- 
quy off the record," stating that during the trial, neither the 
stenographer, Stanley, or Sheriff Carroll were asked to re- 
late what was said during this "colloquy." In the court's 
opinion, failure to question any of the witnesses about the 
substance of the "off the record" conversation rendered it 

The Supreme Court found that there was no error in al- 
lowing the jury to view the photographs of Cecile's body, 
stating that the photographs were merely cumulative, that 
is, adding little or nothing to information already given be- 
cause the defendant had admitted the killing shown in the 
photos. It was the opinion of the court that the cumulative 
nature of the photographs only authorized, but did not re- 
quire, their rejection as evidence. The court did not feel 
that these photographs created undue prejudice against 

With regard to the refusal of the District Court to give 
certain instructions to the jury as listed in Pearson's Speci- 
fications of Error, the Supreme Court stated that there was 
insufficient evidence of provocation to require giving an 
instruction on involuntary manslaughter. The court stated 
that the only provocation influencing Stanley's conduct at 
the time of the shooting was Cecile's refusal to go home. 
The court went on to say that when a jury is correctly in- 
structed on two degrees of murder and finds the defendant 
guilty of murder in the first degree instead of the second 
degree, there is no error in failing to instruct, or by incom- 
plete instructions, on manslaughter. Similarly, if a jury was 
authorized to return a qualified verdict that would be fol- 
lowed by a sentence of life imprisonment, but instead re- 
turned an unqualified verdict, there was no error in the 
court's failure to instruct more fully on voluntary man- 
slaughter, since the unqualified verdict determined that the 
killing was malicious and premeditated, thereby excluding 
manslaughter and murder in the second degree. 

Finally, the Supreme Court opinion rejected the allega- 
tion that the verdict was the result of passion or prejudice 
on behalf of the jury. With regard to the verdict and judg- 
ment being excessive, the opinion stated, "Counsel elo- 
quently argues that the death penalty should not be assessed 
except for the most unjustifiable and ruthless slayings, and 
that it is excessive as applied to defendant who is no hard- 
ened criminal but a loving husband driven to distraction by 
brooding over the breaking up of his home and separation 
from his wife. We must not permit this argument to lead us 
to assert a power in this court either to interfere with the 
jury's discretion in assessing the punishment, or to grant a 
commutation of the sentence. Ordinarily at least, the deci- 
sion of the jury in the exercise of its statutory duty to return 
a verdict that determines the punishment for murder in the 

19 State v. Lantzer, 99 P. 2d 73. 




first degree is not subject to review by the court... If we 
assume that an exception might be made in those cases in 
which it appears that an unqualified verdict may have been 
induced by errors or unfair conduct, we cannot say that this 
is such a case. The contention that the jury was too harsh in 
failing to show leniency where it was deserved, though en- 
titled to consideration in connection with an application 
for commutation, is not a ground for interference by the 
court." 20 

The Supreme Court appointed Friday, April 19, 1940, as 
the day on which the execution of Stanley Lantzer was to 
be carried out. 

ime was running out for Stanley Lantzer, 
but he received the news of the Supreme 
Court's decision with little outward emo- 
tion. During the time he had been in jail Stanley had avidly 
studied a Bible given to him by his aged mother soon after 
his arrest. Although Stanley had converted to Judaism while 
he was married to his first wife Ruth, he had turned once 
again to Christianity, and relied on the Reverend Young of 
the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church in Brush, Colo- 
rado, and the Reverend Clifton McGlothan of the Rawlins 
Baptist Church as his spiritual advisors. 

Stanley was a model prisoner throughout his incarcera- 
tion, quiet, cooperative, undemanding. He had formed 
friendships with many of the guards and with other death 
row inmates, and passed the time on the cell block in quiet 
conversation with them. 

There was only one remaining hope to save Stanley from 
the gas chamber — a commutation of the death sentence 
by Wyoming Governor Nels Smith. Stanley's brother, 
Elbert Lantzer, and his sister, Vernice Lewis, worked tire- 
lessly to save Stanley. They were joined in their efforts by 
Cecile's mother, Mrs. Anna Hagan, and Cecile's brothers 
and their wives. Many others in Akron and Brush, Colo- 
rado, including Cecile's daughter Anna, and Washington 
County District Court Clerk Minnie Blauser, offered their 
support as well. 

A week prior to Stanley's scheduled execution, his fam- 
ily and friends met with Governor Smith, presenting him 
with a petition for clemency, backed by twenty-four pages 
of signatures. In addition, Governor Smith was swamped 
with letters from Stanley and Cecile's relatives and from 
countless interested citizens, beseeching him to bestow 
clemency on Lantzer and spare him from the gas chamber. 

Others also took an interest in Stanley's plight and strove 
to call it to the attention of the general public. Wyoming 
Eagle reporter Alice Kenney interviewed Stanley at the 
Wyoming State Penitentiary early in April 1940, while he 
was awaiting the Governor's decision on clemency. Dur- 
ing the interview Stanley stated, "Two marriages of mine 
were smashed by drinking and dancing. It's about time I 
changed my way of living. Something had to happen — I 
believe it was a supreme revelation that turned me to the 
Lord." (Interestingly, Stanley was not the partner doing the 
drinking and dancing in either marriage, although he as- 

sumed the responsibility for the effects of his wives' be- 

When offered a new pack of cigarettes, Stanley smiled 
and said: "I could hardly smoke and read the Bible, could 

When Kenney asked Stanley about his philosophy of life 
now that death was so near, he replied, "We all have to die 
sometime and I don't suppose it makes any difference just 
when we go. ..We all make mistakes — I made mine. Only 
some have to pay so much more for theirs than others do." 

Kenney then inquired what Stanley would do if he were 
to be released. Stanley appeared to be shocked at the pros- 
pect, then after a moment's reflection, he said, "Why - I'd 
have to follow what I've learned I guess. I couldn't give up 
the Lord now that I've found him. No, I'll never do that... I 
used to read as much of all of it [Old and New Testament] 
as I could, but now that the time is drawing so short I can't 
concentrate like I used to and I read in the New Testament. 
I hope to be able to finish it." 

Throughout the interview Stanley was able to manage an 
occasional smile and could laugh and joke nervously once 
in awhile. Kenney described him as seeming detached, 
humble and unassuming. At the end of the interview, 
Kenney took her leave by wishing Stanley "Lots of luck!" 
Stanley grasped the irony of the comment and smiled wryly, 
replying, "Thanks! I'll need all I can get." 

Although Wyoming had executed an unprecedented num- 
ber of men during the 1930s and had meted out very severe 
sentences to other wrong-doers during the Depression years, 
it appeared that with the coming of a new decade, the ex- 
tremely harsh attitude toward Wyoming's prisoners might 
be abating. On April 3, the Wyoming Eagle ran an article 
announcing that the Wyoming pardon board, in executive 
session, had commuted the sentences of a number of in- 
mates of the Wyoming penitentiary. Many felt that the ac- 
tions of the pardon board might signal a favorable climate 
for Stanley's appeal which would influence the Governor 
to bestow clemency. 

By April 1 7, 1 940, with Stanley Lantzer l s execution only 
two days away, Governor Smith had yet to come to a deci- 
sion regarding clemency. A front page story in the Wyo- 
ming Eagle on that date reported Governor Smith as say- 
ing, "There are a few technical points I want to clear up 
before I decide the Lantzer case. I am going to confer with 
the Attorney General [Ewing T. Kerr] as soon as I get to 
Cheyenne and I'll announce my decision tomorrow." The 
following day the Eagle reported that Governor Smith had 
decided to delay announcing his decision for another day 
because he needed rest after having a tooth extracted. Re- 
sponding to the tension, Stanley spent the day kneeling in 
prayer in his cell on death row. Stanley's friends and rela- 
tives had visited him for the last time on April 9 and were 
not planning to return to see him prior to the execution. 

Finally, approximately ten hours before the scheduled 
execution, Governor Smith announced that he had decided 

20 Ibid 

Nels Smith, Governor of Wyoming, 1939-1943 

to deny clemency, and the execution of Stanley Lantzer 
would go forward as scheduled. Governor Smith stated, 

I have carefully examined the record in this case, as well 
as the decision of the Supreme Court, and will say that noth- 
ing was offered at the hearing in my office which was not 
presented at the trial of Mr. Lantzer and considered by the 
Supreme Court in the appeal. 

It would serve no useful purpose for me to reiterate the 
evidence submitted at the trial. Suffice to say, Mr. Lantzer 
was not justified in taking the life of his wife. The evidence 
is strongly persuasive, if not conclusive, that Mr. Lantzer 
planned the murder of his wife for at least a day or two be- 
fore the shooting. The case is not lacking in premeditation. 
No complaint is made that Mr. Lantzer did not receive a fair 
trial, but it is urged that the jury was too harsh in its verdict. 
1 seriously question the propriety of the chief executive in- 
terfering with the verdict of the jury and the decision of the 
Supreme Court unless something is brought to his attention 
which would tend to mitigate the circumstances of the case. 

1 approach the matter with a sense of grave responsibility 
to render a decision in accordance with justice and in keep- 
ing with the principals [sic] established by all three branches 
of government. Each department has its functions to per- 
form. Every remedy has been exhausted by Mr. Lantzer in 
the judiciary of this state and the question now is — should 
the chief executive interfere with this function? 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

While doubtless there are cases in which the executive 
department is justified in commuting a sentence where the 
death penalty has been exacted, I do not feel that this case 
falls within that category. The petition for the commutation 
of sentence is denied. " :i 

"That's that. It's what I expected." That was the only 
comment Stanley made when Warden A. S. Roach brought 
him Governor Smith's telegram announcing that the ex- 
ecution would not be stayed. Stanley then asked that Rev- 
erend McGlothlan be sent to him. Roach sent for the minis- 
ter and then asked Stanley what he would like to have for 
his last meal. Stanley replied, "I don't want anything in 
particular. Just the regular prison fare will do." Warden 
Roach ordered Stanley a special meal anyway, sending the 
condemned man fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, 
hot biscuits, fresh strawberries, ice cream, cake and coffee. 
Stanley thanked the guard who brought him the meal, but 
only picked at the food. During the night, while waiting for 
the hour of his execution, Stanley did not sleep. 

Shortly after midnight, Warden Roach, Reverend Young, 
Reverend McGlothlan, and two guards came to conduct 
Stanley to the gas chamber. Stanley was requested to un- 
dress, which he did without assistance. A hood was fitted 
over his eyes. He was then conducted to the execution cham- 
ber wearing only undershorts and the hood. The reason for 
this attire was to prevent the cyanide gas from becoming 
trapped in his clothing, consequently endangering those who 
were to retrieve his body from the gas chamber. After pre- 
paring himself for his execution, Stanley bid "So long" to 
prison guard Bernie Davis, who had guarded Stanley dur- 
ing the death watch. 

Stanley then walked to the gas chamber with purposeful 
strides, guided by Roach and the prison guards. Because of 
the mask, Stanley bumped into the door of the gas chamber 
as he was about to enter and had to pause for a moment 
while Warden Roach steadied him. Stanley then stepped 
into the chamber and was assisted into the chair. He coop- 
eratively placed his arms and legs in position to be strapped, 
although due to his small stature, his toes barely touched 
the floor. Once the preparations were complete, Stanley 
called out to the ministers, "Don't go. Don't leave me!" 
They replied, "We are here. We will not leave you, brother." 
Stanley made a wan attempt to smile and then requested 
Reverend Young to kiss him before he left the chamber. 
Reverend Young kissed Stanley on the cheek and then 
stepped out of the gas chamber. Reverend McGlothlan re- 
mained a few moments longer, reciting the prayer, "The 
Lord Will Give Me Strength." 

At the conclusion of the prayer, the remaining officials 
stepped out of the gas chamber and Warden Roach closed 
and locked the door at 12:14 a.m. One minute later, Roach 
tripped the lever releasing 32 cyanide eggs into the sulfuric 
acid solution in the pail beneath the wire mesh seat of the 
chair to which Stanley was strapped. Stanley's lips contin- 

21 Wyoming Eagle, 19 April 1940. 

Summer 199? 

ued to move in prayer, then as the vapors rose around him, 
he breathed deeply three times, gulping the vapor into his 
lungs. His head then fell forward. Two minutes later, 
Stanley's head jerked backward and he strained against the 
straps as if trying to stand. By 12:17 a.m., in the early morn- 
ing of April 19, 1940, Stanley Lantzer was dead. 

Witnesses to the execution included Laramie County 
Sheriff George Carroll, Wyoming Eagle reporters Robert 
Rhode and Morris Gertz, and Mrs. Robert E. Conine, who 
insisted that her honorary commission as a deputy sheriff 
entitled her to witness the execution. After leaving the wit- 
ness room, Mrs. Conine told reporters that the execution 
was "The most horrible sight I have ever witnessed... I'll 
never do such a thing again. I've certainly had enough." 22 

he Wyoming Eagle which hit the stands sev- 
'eral hours after the execution, devoted most 
of the entire front page and many columns on 
the following pages to the Lantzer execution. One lengthy 
feature story reported Warden A. S. Roach as stating that 
he preferred hanging to the gas chamber, finding it more 
humane because the victim lost consciousness as soon as 
the trap fell (theoretically), while lethal gas took several 

Gas chamber, Wyoming State Penitentiary 


minutes to dispatch the victim. A separate story quoting I. 
W. Dinsmore of Rawlins, author of the bill in the 1935 
legislature which resulted in death by lethal gas replacing 
execution by hanging in Wyoming, as saying, "Lethal gas 
execution probably can be improved upon. ..but I'm, sure 
now that it's the most humane way of taking a life cur- 
rently known to man." 

Another story, under the headline GAS CHAMBER IS 
"PERFECT" TEST REVEALS went on to relate that the 
chamber used for executing "civilized society's judgment" 
against Stanley Lantzer had been tested with a live pig. 
The story explained that the pig gets its first breath of the 
fumes a few moments later than a man would, because the 
fumes first rise to the top of the chamber and then billow 
down to the level of the pig. The Eagle reported that when 
the lethal vapor reached the pig it gasped, trembled a mo- 
ment and then was dead. 

There was also the obligatory detailed report of Lantzer's 
execution. However, this report was sensational journal- 
ism with a difference. At the time of Stanley's trial the 
press had enjoyed a heyday, calling him "the wife-slayer," 
publishing photos of his youngest son Jackie with stories 
about how Jackie hated his father for killing Cecile, and 
capitalizing in every way possible on the 
seamy and sensational details of the case. 
However, as the trial progressed there was 
a perceptible softening in the nature of the 
stories about Stanley, and after the unquali- 
fied verdict was announced, the press ap- 
peared almost as surprised as others directly 
associated with the case. During the 
months of the appeals and the days just 
prior to the execution, the press took a 
clearly sympathetic turn. There were no sto- 
ries extolling Cecile' s virtues as a wife and 
mother, although she was frequently re- 
ferred to as Stanley's "pretty, young wife." 
However, many stories appeared which 
focused on Stanley's spotless background 
prior to the killing and his religious rebirth 
during his incarceration. On the day of 
Stanley's death, the story of his execution 
reported the facts, but refrained from much 
editorializing. The story, written by Wyo- 
ming Eagle reporters and execution wit- 
nesses Robert Rhode and Morris Gertz, was 
accompanied by a boxed editorial on page 
one with the headline: "You and I Killed a 

This isn 't going to be a pretty story. 
Your breakfast may not taste so pleasant 
after you read it. Your thoughts today might 
not be on your work and your sleep tonight 
may not be so comfortable. 
12 Ibid. 


Annals oi Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

But it 's a story you should read and ponder. It tells what 
happens when the people of the state of Wyoming -you and 
I - invoke the ancient code, a life for a life. Stanley Lantzer 
killed his wife. He thought she had been unfaithful. She 
refused to live with him. His love for her turned into pas- 
sion. He bought a gun, he pleaded with her to return to 
him, he threatened her. She was adamant. He shot her. 

Then he gave himself up to officers. The law, with due 
formality, convicted him of first degree murder. He was 
sentenced to die. The state supreme court upheld that sen- 
tence and Gov. Nels H. Smith refused to change the court 's 

So early this morning Stanley Lantzer walked into a little 
steel chamber, sat down and breathed deeply of hydrogen 
cyanide gas. A few minutes later he was dead. You and I 
had killed him. 

Read the Wyoming Eagle 's eye-witness account by Rob- 
ert Rhode and Morris D. Gertz, of how the people of Wyo- 
ming put a man to death. Think it over and ask yourself if 
it 's the best way a civilized people can devise to punish one 
crime and discourage others. - IB. 

The clearly sympathetic nature of the editorial and the 
articles on Stanley's execution, Roach's objection to the 
gas chamber, and the effects of the execution on Stanley's 
parents and children suggest that public sentiment was less 
than whole-heartedly behind the execution of Stanley 
Lantzer. The story of Governor Smith's denial of clemency 
appeared in the same edition of the Wyoming Eagle, but 
was reported in a straightforward style accompanied by no 
editorial comment other than the mention that Smith's de- 
nial of clemency had cleared the way for the execution. 

On April 20, 1940, the day following Stanley's execu- 
tion, the Wyoming Eagle came off the press with the fol- 
lowing banner headline, MINISTER TAKING BODY OF 
SON WAS BRAVE. An accompanying feature story on 
page one related that the clergyman accompanying Lantzer's 
body home for burial, Reverend Young of the Brush Colo- 
rado Pentecostal Church, was "on the saddest mission of 
his life" but was "proud to take home word to Stanley S. 
Lantzer's 64-year-old mother and 81 -year-old father that 
their son had died like a man..." 

Below the article on Reverend Young was another ar- 
ticle of significance. It was a lengthy feature written by 
execution witness and reporter Robert Rhode, giving his 
personal impressions of the execution. The tone was that of 
horror and abiding disgust. Rhode wrote, in part, 

Watching hydrogen cyanide gas creep into a man 's lungs 
to snuff out life is an unreal performance to witness but a 
vivid stretch of film in one 's memory. The picture of the 
ethereal like clouds of white gas - a strange thing to be so 
deadly - rising to Stanley S. Lantzer's bearded face can 
never be erased from my consciousness though I shall never 
give up trying... 

Discussion in the penitentiary office... ceased as word 

came that it was time to go. 

We moved out single file through the front and south door 
of the prison. The darkness of two minutes after midnight 
was only partially dispelled by an almost full moon. Trees 
just giving life to new buds threw distorted shadows across 
the walk we followed to the east wall. 

I failed to suppress an involuntary start as I caught sight 
of a hearse near the gate... all tried to ignore its presence... 

We were guided to an iron stairway leading up the out- 
side of a solid concrete building set away from other build- 
ings., an effort at conversation and laughter bordered on 
hysteria., .we found ourselves in a small, barren room built 
entirely of concrete. The bars over the two small windows 
were painted red. 

Bulging into the room on the south side was the actual 
gas chamber and I peered through one of the four square 
windows to get a glimpse of a steel chair with what looked 
like new leather straps attached to the back, arms and legs. 

At 12:12 Lantzer entered., the silk mask over his eyes 
was a boon to both him and the witnesses.. One look into 
his eyes would have been far worse than the sight of his 
gasping in the clouds of gas. 

He evidently had been told the details of his execution, 
as he moved deliberately., as though he had rehearsed it. 

The door was closed and locked... he moved his hands 
nervously and tossed his head, once back, then once to each 
side. His lips moved pronouncing a prayer that human ears 
beyond the steel circular wall of the gas chamber could not 
hear.. When he heard the lever trip the sodium cyanide into 
the acid he sat perfectly motionless for one brief instant. 

As the white gas reached his face he took three deep 
breaths. He seemed to gulp the vapor into his lungs.. His 
head fell forward and his chin rested on his chest... then his 
head jerked back [and] dropped down again., his lips 
drew back and rasping gasps could be heard through the 
thick wall., .he suddenly strained against the straps as 
though he was trying to stand up. The broad strap across 
his chest was sunk into his flesh. Someone whispered: "He 's 
going to break that strap. " After half a minute he slumped 
forward in the chair... 

I found it hard to convince myself that I had just seen a 
man die... Later when ammonia and the fan had cleared 
the chamber of the gas, a red mark was visible across 
Lantzer 's back where the top of the cold steel chair had 
pressed... sheets were thrown across the body and it was 
carried out and down the outside stairway... 

The wind still blew across the prison yard and I felt I had 
no right to look at the pale moon when Lantzer 's power of 
sight was gone." 

tanley Lantzer paid the ultimate price for his 
, crime of passion. There were many in Wyo- 
ming and other parts of the Rocky Mountain 
region who were sickened by his execution and who were 
of the opinion that the penalty that had been exacted from 

23 Ibid 



Stanley was unjust. It appeared that the public's attitude 
toward capital punishment was gradually changing. After 
Stanley Lantzer's was put to death, no further executions 
occurred in Wyoming until 1944 when Cleveland Brown 
Jr. was put to death for a rape and murder committed in 
Lincoln County. 24 Henry Ruhl, who had killed a Cheyenne 
man, was put to death the following year. 25 There were no 
further executions in Wyoming until 1965. 

Although Wyoming Governor Nels Smith was unpopu- 
lar with the electorate for a number of reasons, his denial of 
clemency in the Lantzer case appears to have been unpopular 
as well. Very few expressed support for Smith's decision 
in the case, and the press was all but silent on the issue. 
Smith lost his bid for a second term as governor. 

It is difficult to know exactly why so many executions 
occurred in Wyoming during the 1 930s. Possibly the state's 
citizens were unwilling to undertake the cost of keeping a 
prisoner incarcerated for a life term when economic times 
were so hard. Perhaps the executions were symbolic of a 
general public malaise consistent with the deprivation and 
hopelessness of the years of the Great Depression. Perhaps 
it was an attempt on the part of the public to impose order 
in a society which had become severely disordered. 

tism or involuntary conduct brought about as a result of 
severe depression. However, the absence of any compre- 
hensive psychiatric examination of Stanley Lantzer will 
prevent any definitive determination on the issue. 

Cecile Lantzer did not inspire much loyalty among those 
who knew her, with the ironic exception of her husband 
and murderer Stanley Lantzer. She was an unpleasant, un- 
scrupulous manipulative, promiscuous woman. Neverthe- 
less, murder is not an acceptable solution to the problem of 
faithless spouse. Few would have argued that Cecile's mur- 
der should have gone unpunished, yet it is evident that the 
general public was uncomfortable with many aspects of 
the case and many considered Lantzer's execution to be a 
gross miscarriage of justice. Though few felt Stanley should 
escape some form of punishment, the opinion of the gen- 
eral public appeared to be that, given Stanley's question- 
able mental stability and the degree of provocation to which 
Cecile subjected Stanley, execution was an extreme and 
cruel punishment for Stanley's crime. Prevailing public 
sentiment, revealed in the flood of letters on Stanley's be- 
half received by Governor Smith, was that, regardless of 
the circumstances of the crime, Stanley's greatest charac- 
ter flaw had been — loving Cecile. 

n^H^/f^V" an Y unanswered questions still lin- 
I^^T I £ er a ^ out tne Lantzer case. Perhaps 

-**■ ~ -*^^*"- it will never be known just why 
Lantzer's attorney abandoned his attempts to arrange a 
sanity hearing for Stanley. It appears obvious from the 
testimony given by a number of witnesses at the trial, as 
well as from the testimony of Stanley Lantzer himself, that 
after returning home to discover that Cecile had abandoned 
him, he began to exhibit symptoms consistent with pro- 
gressive erosion of responsibility. Modern forensic psy- 
chologists now associate such symptoms, ( ie., memory 
loss, inability to grasp the realities of various situations, 
denial, and behavior which is inconsistent with the general 
demeanor of the individual), with various types of psycho- 
logical dysfunction often brought about by severe emotional 
trauma or depression. 26 In addition to memory lapses or 
"blockage" with regard to particularly stressful incidents, 
patients suffering from the above symptoms have also been 
known to engage in various forms of involuntary conduct 
and/or automatism. There is judicial precedent for the as- 
sumption that there might be some states of unconscious- 
ness or clouded consciousness which might exclude respon- 
sibility in certain cases. 27 In cases of automatism the indi- 
vidual is in a state capable of action but unconscious of 
performing a certain action. There is precedent for a de- 
fense based on circumstances of automatism, because "the 
mind does not go with what is being done." 28 

A defense based on involuntary conduct or automatism 
relies on medical evidence supported by a very complex 
diagnosis. It is possible that Stanley Lantzer's actions on 
that summer morning in 1938, when he shot and killed his 
wife Cecile, might be attributable to some form of automa- 

24 Phil Roberts, et ah, eds. Wyoming Almanac. (Laramie: Sky- 
line West Press, 1994), 125. 

25 Ibid. 

26 See Herschel Prins, Offenders, Deviants or Patients? (Lon- 
don: Tavistock Publications, 1980), 8-101. 

27 Ibid, 22. 
1% Ibid, 24. 

Carol Lee Bowers is reference archivist, Ameri- 
can Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. 
A graduate of the University of Florida, she 
holds the M. A. from the University of Wyoming 
and is currently working toward her Ph.D. in 
history at the University of Wyoming. 

Book R 


Edited by Carl Hallberg 

Red Cloud: Warrior-Statesman of the Lakota Sioux. 

By Robert W. Larson. Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1997. xvi + 336 pages. Illustrations, maps, bib- 
liographic note, index. Cloth, $24.95. 

In 1 870 the most prominent Native American in the 
United States was Red Cloud of the Lakota Sioux. An 
almost unbroken series of dramatic and widely publi- 
cized military and diplomatic successes had propelled 
the Oglala chieftain to the fore of the nation's attention. 
Opposing the United States garnered Red Cloud consid- 
erable status, power, and prestige, but his experiences 
also furnished him with valuable insight and knowledge. 
Robert W. Larson, a professor emeritus at the Univer- 
sity of Northern Colorado at Greeley, argues convinc- 
ingly in this fine biography that in 1 870 Red Cloud came 
to accept American military superiority. "It was only 
after his visits to Washington," Larson asserts, "that he 
realized that the overwhelming power of his adversaries 
made further resistance untenable." From that point for- 
ward the Lakota leader rapidly moved away from strat- 
egies of confrontation and toward ones that constituted 
a creative blend of accommodation and passive resis- 
tance. "I shall not go to war nay more with whites," he 
vowed on his return from the East. "I shall do as my 
Great Father says and make my people listen." As the 
subtitle of the book suggests, two contrasting elements 
guided Red Cloud's leadership of the Sioux; only one 
endured past 1 870. 

Red Cloud's subsequent life reflected his new phi- 
losophy. He and his people became enmeshed in the 
reservation system and everything that came with it. For 
Red Cloud, this meant protecting the Lakota from the 
worst abuses of settlers, soldiers, and federal policy. And 
although his tactics might have changed, his resolve "to 
preserve as many facets of his people's once free and 
nomadic life as he could" never waned. Red Cloud's 
prescription of non-violent resistance was symbolic of a 
new type of native leadership. Frederick E. Hoxie has 
recently chronicled the arrival of a certain category of 
leaders in the assimilation period whom he describes as 
"pioneering politicians," men "who marked off an en- 
clave within which they could preserve at least a portion 
of their community's traditions." Although his narrative 

lends support to Hoxie 's analysis, Larson does not posi- 
tion Red Cloud in such a broad context. 

An important theme of Red Cloud is that many con- 
temporary and later observers including Indian people, 
have erroneously interpreted Red Cloud's pacifism as 
surrender. It is a mistaken view that Larson labors to 
correct. While Larson concedes that the critics are justi- 
fied in concluding that Red Cloud did not "seek martyr- 
dom through hopeless military resistance," he argues that 
they are wrong in equating that with capitulation. What 
Red Cloud did do, according to Larson, was "use his 
abilities as a negotiator to oppose every federal policy 
that he regarded as being against his people's best inter- 
est." In Larson's words, "without restoring to rebellious 
or self-destructive actions," Red Cloud "strove to pre- 
serve as much Sioux culture as he could"; he disputed 
"every governmental interpretation that would mean a 
loss of territory for his people." 

Larson's purpose is neither to venerate nor denigrate 
but to understand - to discern the circumstances and pro- 
cesses that informed Red Cloud's decisions, not to cast 
judgment on them. As a result readers will gain a fuller 
comprehension of the issues that confronted Red Cloud 
and a better appreciation for why he responded to Ameri- 
can expansion as he did. 

Red Cloud: Warrior-Statesman of the Lakota Sioux is 
a worthy biography about one of American's most im- 
portant and intriguing Native American leaders. 

Cary C. Collins 
Washington State University 

Big Dams and Other Dreams: The Six Companies 
Story. By Donald E. Wolf. Norman: University of Okla- 
homa Press, 1996. xvi + 336 pages. Illustrations, notes, 
bibliography, index. Cloth, $27.95. 

Big dams, big bridges, and gigantic wartime projects 
fill the content and marquee of this work that celebrates 
the "can do" spirit of American business and enterprise 
in the twentieth century American West. The Six Com- 
panies (Morrison Knudsen Company of Boise; Utah 
Construction Company; J.F. Shea Company of Portland; 
Pacific Bridge Company of Portland; MacDonald and 




Kahn of San Francisco; Henry Kaiser's empire; and W.A. 
Bechtel Corporation) designates the conglomerate of 
companies that initially won the Bureau of Reclamation 
contract for $50 million to build Hoover Dam in 1931. 
In the subsequent decade they continued to build addi- 
tional dams, water systems, port facilities, and wartime 
ship building and airplane manufacturing. 

Where did it all start? Much of the success story be- 
gan well before the fortuitous Hoover Dam project. Those 
staunch supporters of the spirit of free enterprise would 
say that the success began in the American free market 
system that permits talented people and businesses to 
create and enjoy the fruits of their labors. Others not so 
sanguine on this point might take another explanatory 
route focusing on the engineer Frank Crowe and others 
who got their early experience in large construction 
projects under the government's Reclamation Service 
and later the Bureau (1923) as it sought to tame the riv- 
ers of the West and make them the watering spouts of 
agriculture and city alike. After this experience and with 
the acquired capital, these experts offered their services 
to private companies and even formed their own com- 
panies. When the government adopted the policy of bid- 
ding out construction projects, they stood ready to offer 
their services and win bids. 

The government Reclamation Service, beginning with 
the 1902 National Reclamation Act, was more than a 
scheme to place farmers on arid lands. Projects involved 
building dams, aqueducts, pouring cement, and engi- 
neering large structures to withstand stress. These un- 
dertakings stand squarely in the American tradition of 
internal improvements that first made their appearance 
in transportation - road building and later railroads to 
the Pacific Coast. In the twentieth century, public projects 
took a predictable twist toward the building of water 
storage and delivery systems in the arid American West, 
extending the cooperation of government and private 
enterprise beyond the challenges of transportation and 
communication in the nineteenth century. 

This form of federal government financed internal 
improvement offered engineers government jobs and then 
the application of their expertise in private ventures. 
Donald E. Wolfs book is a celebration of business suc- 
cess and technological triumph over nature (rivers, 
weather, tides), human frailties, disorganization, and war 
time enemies. It is sheer boosterism compared to other 
recent laments on the course of western dam building 
and the rendering of rivers into power producing ma- 
chines rather than their organic purposefulness that is 
ruefully noted by the historians of the recent West, Ri- 
chard White (The Organic Machine, 1995) and Donald 

Wooster (Rivers of Empire, 1985). We find none of this 
soul-searching angst in Big Dams and Other Dreams. 
It is business history 1950s style- a success story filled 
with admiration for the business leaders of the West who 
grew up with this century and whose skills were on hand 
and ready to go when the challenges of World War II 
occurred. The underlying message is that they were es- 
sential to victory, especially in the Pacific. It took a com- 
bination of government capital, government employ- 
ment, contracts, and private enterprise drive to win that 
victory. This was a familiar formula that had been as- 
sembled in the prewar development of the watered West. 

William D. Rowley 
University of Nevada, Reno 
Professor Rowley 's recent book, Reclaiming the Arid 
West: The Career of Francis D. Newlands, was pub- 
lished bv Indiana University in 1996. 

Change in the American West: Exploring the Hu- 
man Dimension. Edited by Stephen Tchudi. Reno: Uni- 
versity of Nevada Press, 1996. xii + 257 pages. Illus- 
trations, map, notes, chart, bibliographies. Paper, $14.95. 

Few would disagree that the American West has al- 
ways been a region in transition. Like not other place in 
the country, the people, the landscape, and even the iden- 
tity of the West appear to be in constant flux. Yet, as the 
contributors to this anthology suggest, these often curi- 
ous changes remain an integral element of western life, 
culture, and experience. In assembling this eclectic col- 
lection of essays, Stephen Tchudi attempts to explore 
the process of change in the hopes of gaining a greater 
understanding about the unique history of the evolving 
American West. 

The vehicle for this understanding and the overall 
theme for this volume is the broadly defined field of the 
humanities. Studying the West from a "humanistic per- 
spective" is significant because, as the lead essay ar- 
gues, within the humanities lies the key to unlocking the 
mysteries of "[our] land, our language, our hopes and 
our fears, our songs and our stories." By including es- 
says from poets, historians, writers, artists, and photog- 
raphers, Tchudi places the humanities against the larger 
backdrop of western culture in an attempt to provide an 
illumination about the "realities, of daily life in the West." 
The result, however, is a wide ranging volume that 
struggles to find a coherent direction. 

While not without certain strengths, the lack of theme 
cohesiveness is, in part, a reflection of the organizational 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

structure of the volume. The opening section focuses on 
the arts in the nineteenth century (theater, opera, novels) 
and how evolving artistic themes and tastes manifested 
themselves in western society. How, for example, were 
ever-changing western gender roles portrayed in popu- 
lar culture? The next section tries to bring fresh insights 
to the ubiquitous western issue of water. In her essay, 
historian Katherine Barber examines water rights issues 
through the imagery-laden writings of Leslie Marmon 
Silko and Edward Abbey. The remaining essays ana- 
lyze the strength of social institutions in a rapidly ex- 
panding West. In a West marked more by transition than 
stability, the authors try to identify and explore cultural 
landmarks that serve as a guide in the creation of a west- 
em identity. 

Each section does include a number of interesting ex- 
amples that highlight the hazards and benefits of life in 
the American West. However, Change in the American 
West fails to place western life into any larger context. 
This collection is premised around the idea that a re- 
newed focus on the connections between diverse societ- 
ies and cultures can help us understand the transitory 
nature of life in the American West. By finding new 
ways to "describe responses to the Western experience," 
this collection tries to dissolve "the traditional bound- 
aries of form" that previously shaped our interpretation 
of the West. Glimpses of that goal do appear in the text, 
but without a framework to give these exploration mean- 
ing, or even a discussion of the main themes that appear 
in the text, the impact of the volume often falls short. 

John Herron 
University of New Mexico 

A Mine of Her Own: Women Prospectors in the 
American West, 1850-1950. By Sally Zanjani. Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1997. xii + 375 pages. 
Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. Cloth, 


A Mine of Her Own is proof that Clementine - the 
forty-niner's beautiful and tragically "lost and gone for- 
ever" daughter of the ballad - was not the only woman 
on the frontier. Relying on newspaper accounts and fam- 
ily reminiscences, Zanjani examines the lives of 77 
women prospectors in the west. She speculates that the 
number of women miners may be two or three times 
higher, but many lives have gone unrecorded and may 
indeed be lost and gone forever. 

Unlike their Overland Trail counterparts, prospecting 
women kept few diaries and wrote few letters, yet Zanjani 
has been able to reconstruct the stories of numerous in- 

dependent, iron-willed women who devoted their days 
to prospecting, leading lives of high hopes and hard la- 
bor in unforgiving landscapes. In stark contrast to the 
19th century "Cult of True Womanhood," which called 
on women to embrace domesticity as helpmates and 
mothers while bringing civilize virtues to the wilder- 
ness, prospecting women reveled in self-sufficiency, 
wielding drills and blasting powder, managing dog sleds 
in the Arctic winter, taking younger lovers, and surviv- 
ing on rabbit and snake in the desert when necessary. 
The woman prospector, who struck out on her own or in 
the company of other male miners and roamed the moun- 
tains with rock hammer and muck bucket, was a far cry 
from the prairie Madonna who reluctantly followed her 
husband west or the wife left behind to hold the home 
and family together while her husband disappeared for 
years into the gold fields. Indeed, from Zanjani 's ac- 
counts, family life seems to have been incompatible with 
the demands of prospecting. Most female prospectors 
were childless, had grown children, or chose to leave 
their children behind in orphanages while staking and 
developing claims for themselves. There were excep- 
tions, like Mary Elizabeth "Panamint Annie" White, who 
packed her baby on her back while descending mine 

Whether women prospected during the great rushes in 
California and the Klondike or the booms in the Nevada 
desert or the lean years of the Great Depression, Zanjani 
discovers that they shared an almost religious love for 
solitary places and a drive to keep searching for mineral 
wealth despite repeated failure. Their pursuits challenged 
their physical stamina, resourcefulness, and sometimes 
family ties. Some were quite successful in their efforts, 
while others barely scraped by, but almost all who took 
up the quest did so for life. As Alice "Happy Days" 
Diminy, who panned for gold until she was 90, said in 
an interview: "The desert is free country. No one need 
be a pauper here. Don't stay chained to a job. Get out 
and see the world. It's a beautiful world. And then find 
yourself a place on the desert, where you can be free. 
Rock your living from the sand, as I have done since 
1907" (p. 268). Zanjani has also given glimpses about 
women who left faint traces in history, women like 
"Black Mag," the only African American woman known 
to have actively mined, who worked claims for some 30 
years in Nevada before dying in 1924, or the Native 
American women who panned the California rivers for 
gold using pitch-covered wicker baskets, women whose 
names are truly lost and gone forever. 

Zanjani' s book is an important contribution to the his- 
tory of women in the West, recovering the voices of 



Diminy and dozens of other extraordinary women who 
stretched the boundaries of conventional gender roles 
and who questioned notions of women's work, of fam- 
ily, and especially of women's place in the wilderness. 

Laurie Schneider 
Washington State University 

Thomas Moran: The Field Sketches, 1856-1923. By 

Anne Morand. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1996. xii + 313 pages. Notes, illustrations, bibliogra- 
phy, index. Cloth, $75. 

Until recently, the paintings of nineteenth century 
American landscape artists received scant attention by 
art historians more attuned to the fin-de-siecle push to- 
ward modernism. In the last two decades, however, per- 
haps as part of America's deepening concern with the 
environment, more attention has been directed toward 
the school of landscape artists who roamed the country 
in pursuit of the perfect vista. Anne Morand's Thomas 
Moran: The Field Sketches, 1856-1923 is indicative of 
this trend. 

Thomas Moran, frequently considered the inheritor of 
the style of the Hudson River School, is best known for 
his outsized landscape paintings of the American West. 
During the height of his career, he offered readers of 
Scribner 's Monthly and Harper 's the landscapes of 
Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the southwestern region, 
reproducing dramatic natural wonders in his engravings. 
Moran traveled throughout the United States, the United 
Kingdom, and even Mexico for his studio drawings and 
magazine illustrations. He sketched the scenery around 
him, trying to capture enough details on paper so that he 
could use the sketch as a visual prompt after he returned 
to his studio. The number of field sketches he produced 
is enormous. Occasionally he relied upon photography 
to record an image for him. 

Anne Morand, curator of art collections at the Tho- 
mas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, 
has undertaken the immense project of cataloging all 
1 ,080 of the extant field sketches he made between 1 856 
and 1923. They depict scenes from early in Moran's ca- 
reer when his travels were restricted to Philadelphia and 
Michigan as well as his more familiar images of Mon- 
tana, Wyoming, and other western regions from later in 
his life. Field sketches from less well-known journeys, 
such as Moran's wanderings in England, Mexico, and 
Italy, are also included. 

The book is introduced by Joan Carpenter Troccoli, 
former director of the Gilcrease Institute, and contains a 
short essay by Anne Morand to orient the reader to the 


material. The most valuable part of this book, however, 
is the illustrated checklist of field sketches compiled by 
Morand and Norma Ewing. It is arranged chronologi- 
cally and details the provenance of each sketch. While 
the illustrations in the checklist are black and white, the 
introductory essays are copiously illustrated with color 
plates of Moran's work. 

Aficionados of Thomas Moran will be pleased by this 
book simply because of its lavish illustrations and fe- 
cundity of factual information. Anyone interested in fol- 
lowing the development of an artist's quirks and stylis- 
tic innovations will have plenty of material to work with 
as a result of this catalog. Morand's essay also traces the 
evolution of Thomas Moran's personal style through his 
field sketches. 

The collection of so many images into a single vol- 
ume offers a useful tool for art historians concerned with 
the representation of the West and nature. Any number 
of promising questions arise with the perusal of the im- 
ages. For instance, it is impossible to avoid wondering 
about the connection between technology and accessi- 
bility to nature when looking at Moran's sketches. De- 
spite his reliance on modern transportation and cameras, 
it is unusual for any sign of human industry to appear in 
Moran's drawings. We might also wonder about the re- 
lationship between nature and tourism. Many of Moran's 
images were the result of commissions by tourist com- 
panies, which paid the artist to represent the natural 
beauty of our continent in order that the images might 
inspire other Americans to travel. 

Anne Morand's book, although priced such that it may 
be out of reach of the casual reader, is a useful tool on 
many levels. Whether one simply wants to look one more 
time at the exquisite colors of Moran's field sketches or 
to ponder the implications of the popularizing of natural 
wonders, Thomas Moran: The Field Sketches, 1856-1923 
will be a welcome addition to any library. 

Susan Johnson-Roehr 
University of Oregon 

Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating & 
Empire Building. By Richard Drinnon. Norman: Uni- 
versity of Oklahoma Press, 1997. xxx + 571 pages. 
Notes, illustrations, bibliographic essay, index. Paper, 

In the preface to this 1997 edition, Professor Emerims 
of history at Bucknell University Richard Drinnon takes 
to task Stephen Katz of Cornell University for arguing 
that the use of the word 'genocide' when referring to 
Euro- American treatment of Native Americans is inap- 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Jourm 

propriate. Katz points out that some Pequots, for ex- 
ample, survived through the ages and still inhabit Con- 
necticut. Drinnon borrowed a line from David Stannard 
in response: is genocide the appropriate word when dis- 
cussing the fate of Jews in Europe during the 1930s and 
1940s? After all, some them survived. 

This small argument is perhaps more telling of the 
debates extant between historians, but for Drinnon it re- 
veals a great deal about the way in which Americans 
and Europeans have viewed and at time marginalized 
Native Americans throughout history. Herein lies the 
strength of Drinnon 's book. 

In exceedingly clear prose, Drinnon develops his the- 
sis that America, in pushing westward, has repeatedly 
used moral justifications and pejorative reasoning for 
conquering native peoples, whether on this continent, in 
the Pacific islands, or Asia. He carries forward this tale 
of subjugation from the earliest days of colonialism un- 
der British rule to the latest days of American imperial- 
ism as it developed in Vietnam. 

The work, divided into five parts, is easy to follow. 
The evolution of American ideology regarding native 
peoples is linked across time, whether it is John Adams' 
incipient racism or Robert McNamara's policies during 
the 1960s. Each part is further split into chapters which 
for the most part focus on the ideas, actions, or writings 
of one individual and how these factors affected policies 
towards the natives in question. 

Facing West blends an in depth understanding of pri- 
mary sources, documents, interviews, and literature to 
demonstrate the complexity of racism and how it af- 
fected American policies towards Native Americans and 
native inhabitants of foreign countries. Generally, 
Drinnon avoids any footnotes within the text, although 
the occasional asterisk adds to the discussion on par- 
ticular points. Of minor concern is his choice of a bib- 
liographic essay at the conclusion of the text. While it is 
clear, the reader can miss the explicit associations be- 
tween ideas that Drinnon develops and the sources from 
whence they came. 

Finally, one small criticism and to be fair, the fault 
does not lie entirely with the author. Drinnon creates 
connections, chillingly real ones, between the My Lai 
and Wounded Knee massacres. In the preface to the 1 990 
edition, included within this new printing, Drinnon re- 
veals that the original conclusion ended with an insight 
from Lame Deer. Lame Deer said the only difference 
between the two massacres was that My Lai was hot, 
and Wounded Knee icy cold. Drinnon' s editor appar- 
ently protested, noting that this was not the most "up- 
beat note on which to conclude" (xi). 

Facing West may have been better served to end with 

Lame Deer's observation. This is not an "upbeat" story 
in the first place, and there is no reason to "go Holly- 
wood" with a happy ending. The decision, however, does 
not appear to have been entirely Drinnon 's to make, but 
the overall quality and impact of this book does not suf- 

Nicholas J. Aieta 
University of Nebraska 

The Frontier of Women's Writing: Women's Nar- 
ratives and the Rhetoric of Westward Expansion. By 

Brigitte Georgi-Findlay. Tucson: University of Arizona 
Press, 1996. xxii + 349. Notes, bibliography, index. 
Cloth, $45; paper, $19.95. 

In this book Brigitte Georgi-Findlay shows nineteenth- 
century white women's writings about the American 
West to be representative of the expansionist rhetoric 
more frequently associated with men's writings about 
the West. A German scholar of North American studies, 
Georgi-Findlay applies the methods of post-structural- 
ist literary analysis to American women's texts about 
the West, identifying patterns of colonialism, power, and 
self-authorization in those narratives. She concentrates 
on five genres of nineteenth-century women's writings: 
prairie settlement accounts; overland trail descriptions; 
army wives' memoirs; tourists' writings; and teachers' 
and missionaries' narratives. Her close reading of 
women's writings results in a dense and sophisticated 
analysis that implicates middle and upper-class white 
women as imperialists but not in quite the same ways as 
their male counterparts. 

Georgi-Findlay 's main concern is "what happens when 
women write in/on the contact zones of frontiers, where 
they are simultaneously part of an expansionist enter- 
prise and members of that group itself most thoroughly 
colonized by patriarchal 'civilization'" (p. 26). In an- 
swering this question, she addresses three topics, each 
covering a thirty-year period: Surveyors of the Terrain, 
1830-1860; Army Women, Tourists, and Mythmakers, 
1860-1890; and Missionaries, Reformers, and New 
Women, 1890-1920. Her thought-provoking introduc- 
tion places this work on the cutting edge of American 
studies and of Western literature. For example, the au- 
thor insists that rhetorical strategies employed by women 
and men placed a crucial role in territorial expansion. 
At the same time, women did not hold power equal to 
that of white men, nor did they authorize themselves in 
the same ways. Hence, white western women's narra- 
tives at times subverted the assumptions of colonialism 
by insisting on subjective narratives that included and 
even highlighted non-white voices. Georgi-Findlay's 

Summer 1997 


examples, ranging from Margaret Fuller to Jessie Benton 
Fremont, illustrate the contradictory potential of women's 
narratives to subvert and reinforce colonialist discourses. 

The author concludes that "women's western narra- 
tives draw our attention to the continuous significance 
.of America's margins - women, minorities, cultural hin- 
terland - for the creation and maintenance of its cultural 
centers as well as the definition of multiple and often 
conflicted American identities" (p. 289). I find her argu- 
ment convincing and attractive, but I cannot help but 
wonder about the question of readership. Given that many 
of the narrative Georgi-Findlay includes in her analysis 
did not see publication until the mid-twentieth century, 
how much impact did nineteenth-century women writ- 
ers have on American imperialistic rhetoric? Moreover, 
did women writers influence readers, or did their writ- 
ings reflect only their support for or internalization of 
imperialist rhetoric? Finally, were there texts by west- 
ern women that did not reflect this rhetoric? A compari- 
son of non-imperialistic women's writings, if any exist, 
might highlight the uniqueness of Georgi-Findlay 's study 
(to be non-imperialistic, these writers would by defini- 
tion have to be non-white). 

These questions, however, are for the most part 
quibbles. To her credit, the author shows white women 
as major participants in U.S. territorial expansion, de- 
spite their lack of power and authority in comparison to 
white men. This is an important point for discussions 
about the ways in which white privilege gets gendered. 
I highly recommend Brigitte Georgi-Findlay' s The Fron- 
tiers of West em Women 's Writing, particularly for read- 
ers interested in western women's history, American 
studies, and western literature. 

Debra S. McDonald 
University of New Mexico 

The Journals of Patrick Gass, Member of the Lewis 
and Clark Expedition. Edited by Carol Lynn 
MacGregor. Missoula: Mountain Press Publishing Com- 
pany, 1997. Illustrations, notes, appendices, bibliogra- 
phy, index, xii + 448 pages. Paper, $20.00. 

Interest in the Lewis and Clark Expedition is reaching 
new heights. A new film by Ken Burns and Dayton 
Duncan premiered on PBS in early November. Un- 
daunted Courage, the runaway bestseller by Stephen 
Ambrose, and the new edition of the Lewis and Clark 
journals published by the University of Nebraska have 
helped spark this interest. The Journals of Patrick Gass 
is another important contribution in this continuing voy- 

age of discovery to learn all we can about the Lewis and 
Clark Expedition. 

Lewis, Clark, three sergeants (Charles Floyd, John 
Ordway, and Patrick Gass), and two privates (Joseph 
Whitehouse and Robert Frazer) kept journals. Of these, 
Gass' s journal was the first to go to print upon the return 
of the expedition. Edited by David McKeehan, a school- 
master and bookseller, and published in 1 807, it drew 
criticism from Meriwether Lewis who had yet to issue 
the official journals of the expedition's co-captains. 
Lewis worried that unauthorized publications could de- 
preciate his own project. McKeehan argued that the jour- 
nals was Gass 's personal property, not government prop- 
erty, and as such he was free to publish it. 

Book I reproduces the first printing format. Sadly, 
Gass's original manuscript has been lost, and without it 
to compare to the published version, historians question 
how much editorial influence McKeehan exerted. It is 
known that during the journey campfire editing took place 
and was encouraged as a practical way to be sure the 
information was secure. But concerning the Gass jour- 
nal, how much was written by him and how much by 
editor McKeehan? 

Book II is the Gass account book. The discovery of 
Gass's account book of 1826-1837 and 1847-1848 re- 
vealed his writing style. Compared to the journal, Gass's 
simple, straightforward approach stands in contrast to 
the flowery, stiff annotations of McKeehan. Each page 
of the account book is accompanied with a correspond- 
ing page of annotation, which is most helpful and infor- 
mative. This section also includes an introduction and a 
history of the Gass family. 

Carol Lynn MacGregor, professor at Boise State Uni- 
versity, offers an introduction about Patrick Gass, the 
purposes of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and an his- 
toriography of the Gass journal and of the expedition. 
Her annotations are the strong point of the book. 

The Journal of Patrick Gass presents a comprehen- 
sive depiction of its original author. An especially tal- 
ented carpenter, Gass served the expedition well. His 
journal is filled with descriptions about trees and plants, 
which enhances its readability. Readers will see the new 
land through his eyes. 

An epic journey ended on 19 September 1806, ". . . 
after an absence of two year, four months and ten days." 
Gass lived ninety-nine years. What a life it was. This 
journal takes us along on one of his adventures. 

Patricia Ann Owens 
Wabash Valley College 

Hebard Collection, UW Libraries 

Compiled by Tamsen L. Hert, University or Wyoming Libraries 

The Grace Raymond Hebard Wyoming Collection is a branch of the University of Wyoming Libraries housed in the 
Owen Wister Western Writers Reading Room in the American Heritage Center. Primarily a research collection, the core of 
this collection is Miss Hebard's personal library which was donated to the university libraries. Further donations have been 
significant in the development of this collection. While it is easy to identify materials about Wyoming published by 
nationally known publishers, it can be difficult to locate pertinent publications printed in Wyoming. The Hebard Collection 
is considered to be the most comprehensive collection on Wyoming in the state. 

If you have any questions about these materials or the Hebard Collection, you can contact me by phone at 307-766-6245; 
by email, or you can access the Hebard HomePage at: 
New Publications 

American Legislative Leaders in the West, 1911-1994. 
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. Hebard & Coe 
F 590.5 .A48 1997 

Bertschinger, Hafis. With a Horse Called George Along 
the Oregon Trail (Go Slowly and Get There Quicker). 
Pocatello, ID: Idaho State University Press, 1996. 
Hebard & Coe F 597 .B47 1996 

Brown, Larry K. You Are Respectfully Invited to Attend 
My Execution. Glendo, WY: High Plains Press, 1997. 
Hebard & Coe HV 6785 .B76 1997 

The Double Eagle Guide to Western State Parks, Volume 
2, Rocky Mountains: Colorado, Montana, Wyoming. 2nd. 
ed. Billings, MT: Discovery Publishing, 1997. 
Hebard & CoeRef E 160 .D68 1997 v.2 

Eborn, Bret A. (comp.) Comprehensive Bibliography of 
Mormon Literature, Including Some Review Information & 
Price History. Peoria, AZ: Eborn Books, 1997. 
Hebard & Coe BX 8635.2 .E267 1997 

Gottberg, John. Hidden Wyoming. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses 
Press/Publishers Group West, 1997. Hebard & Coe F 759.3 

Montana, Montie, comp. Cowboy Cuisine: By Performers 
& Friends of Buffalo Bill's Wild West. Springville, CA: 
Montie Montana Jr., 1 996. Hebard TX 71 5.2 .W47C69 1996 

Mormon Midwife: The 1 846- 1 888 Diaries of Patty Bartlett 
Sessions. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1997. 
Hebard & Coe F 593 .S45 A3 1997 

News of the Plains and Rockies 1803-1865: Volume 2 C: 
Santa Fe Adventurers, 1818-1843; D: Settlers, 1819-1865. 
Spokane, WA: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1996. 
Hebard & Coe F 591 .W67 1996 v.2 

Price, Jack. Wild Horse Country in Wyoming, [s.l.]: Jack 
Price, 1996. Hebard & Coe F 761 .P68 1996 

Reid, John Philip. Law for the Elephant: Property and 
Social Behavior on the Overland Trail. San Marino, CA: 
Huntington Library, 1997. Hebard & Coe KF 366 .R43 1997 

Reid, John Phillip. Policing the Elephant: Crime, Punish- 
ment, and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail. San Marino, 
CA: Huntington Library, 1997. Hebard & Coe HV 9955 .W4 
R45 1997 

Schneider, Bill. Best Easy Day Hikes, Yellowstone. Hel- 
ena, MT: Falcon Press Publishing Co., Inc., 1997. 
Hebard & Coe GV 199.42 .Y45 S33 1997 

Schreier, Carl. Hiking Yellowstone Trails. Moose, WY: 
Homestead Publishing, 1997. Hebard & Coe GV 199.42 
.Y45 S35 1997 

Schullery, Paul. Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and 
Wonder in the Last Wilderness. Boston, New York: Houghton 
Mifflin Company, 1997. Hebard & Coe F 722 .S378 1997 

Seagraves, Anne. Daughters of the West. Hayden, ID: 
Wesanne Pub., 1996. Hebard & Coe F 596 .S297 1996 

Includes female rodeo performers such as Lorena Trickey 
and Prairie Rose Henderson. 

Thayer, Tom. The Yellowstone River Country of Montana 
& Wyoming. Hebard & Coe F 722 .T48 1996 

Very Close to Trouble: The Johnny Grant Memoir. Pull- 
man, WA: Washington State University Press, 1996. 
Hebard F731 .G72 1996 

Waite, Thornton. Yellowstone Branch of the Union Pa- 
cific: Route of the Yellowstone Special. Idaho Falls, Idaho: 
Thornton Waite, 1997. Hebard & Coe HE 2791 .U63 W358 

A Yellowstone Album: A Photographic Celebration of the 
First National Park. Boulder, CO: Roberts Rinehart Pub- 
lishers and The Yellowstone Foundation, 1997. 
Hebard & Coe F 722 Y255 1997 

Older Titles 

Cameron, Marguerite. This Is The Place. Caldwell, ID: 
Caxton Printers., Ltd., 1941. Hebard F 826 .C 19 1941 

Gold Rush Diary: Being the Journal of Elisha Douglass 
Perkins on the Overland Trail in the Spring and Summer of 
1849. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1967. 
Hebard & Coe F 593 .P46 A3 

Gray, Dorothy. Women of the West. Millbrae, CA: Les 
Femmes, 1976. Hebard & Coe HQ 1412 .G73 

Includes Sacajawea, Narcissa Whitman, Esther Morris and 
Ella "Cattle Kate" Watson. 

Loam, Jayson. Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the North- 
west: Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Mon- 
tana, Wyoming. Berkeley: Wilderness Press, 1980. Hebard 
& Coe RA 807 .N93 L62 

Long, Margaret. The Oregon Trail: Following the Old His- 
toric Pioneer Trails on the Modern Highways. [s.l.[: Mar- 
garet Long, 1954. Hebard F 595 .L6 

Powder River Country: The Papers of J. Elmer Brock. 
Kaycee: M. B. Hanson, 1989. Hebard F 767 .P6 P68 1989 

Wyoming Pictures 

Governor Frank Emerson enjoyed "Governor's Day" at the training grounds of the Wyoming National 
Guard in the summer of 1930. The photo, shot by Casper photographer B. E. Stephenson, is in the 
Emerson collection. Division of Cultural Resources, State Department of Commerce 



vZlnnals of 


The Wyoming History Journal 

Fall 1997; Vol 69. No. 4 

Special issue commemorating the 

125th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park 

On the cover: 

The summer of 1883 in Yellowstone was noteworthy for the opening of the Yellowstone Park 
Improvement Company's facilities, the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad's branch line 
to the park, and the first visit by a United States president. President Chester Arthur traveled to 
Wyoming on the Union Pacific Railroad, and then from Green River to Fort Washakie by wagon. 
From there he rode horseback, accompanied by a troop of cavalry soldiers and 150 pack mules 
(with the requisite wranglers and packers) to tote the tents, beds, furniture, linens, china, silver, 
crystal and gourmet provisions that were needed to make his expedition comfortable. His party 
included General Phil Sheridan, Secretary of War Robert T. Lincoln, Senator George Vest of 
Missouri, Governor John S. Crosby of Montana Territory, and other dignitaries. In the cover pho- 
tograph the president and his fellow travelers are shown picnicking in a grove of pines. 
President Arthur is seated in the chair at the center. (Photograph from the collection of the 
Riverton Museum) 

On the back cover is a photograph showing some of the first cars to enter Yellowstone National 
Park after the August 1, 1915 opening of the park to motorized vehicles. (Photograph from the 
collection of the Pioneer Museum in Lander) 

Grateful acknowledgement is made of the assistance provided by Tamsen L. Hert in the preparation of this issue of Annals of 
Wyoming. Ms. Hert was instrumental in the solicitation of appropriate articles and the acquisition of illustrations. 

The editor of Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History journal welcomes manuscripts and photographs on every aspect of 
the history of Wyoming and the West. Appropriate for submission are unpublished, research-based articles which provide 
new information or which offer new interpretations of historical events. First-person accounts based on personal experience 
or recollections of events will be considered for use in the "Wyoming Memories" section. Articles are reviewed by members 
of the journal's Editorial Advisory Board and others. Decisions regarding publication are made by the editor. Manuscripts 
(along with suggestions for illustrations or photographs) should be submitted on computer diskettes in a format created by 
one of the widely-used word processing programs along with two printed copies. Submissions, queries, and requests for 
detailed authors' guidelines should be addressed to Editor, Annals of Wyoming, P.O. Box 4256 University Station, Laramie, 
WY 82071. 


Loren Jost 

ditorial Advisory- Board 

Barbara Bogart, Evanston 
Mabel Brown, Cheyenne 
Michael Devine, Laramie 
James-B. Griffith, Jr., Cheyenne 
Don Hodgson, Torrington 
David Kathka, Rock Springs 
T.A. Larson, Laramie 
John D. McDermott, Sheridan 
William H. Moore, Laramie 
Karyl Robb, Cheyenne 
Sherry Smith, Moose 
Thomas F. Stroock, Casper 
Lawrence M. Woods, Worland 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
ublications Committee 

Nancy Curtis, Glendo 
Rick Ewig, Laramie 
David Kathka, Rock Springs 
Amy Lawrence, Laramie 
Sherry Smith, Moose 
Patty Myers, Wheatland 
Loren Jost, Riverton 
Phil Roberts, Laramie 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
xecutive Committee 

Patty Myers, Wheatland 
Mike Jording, Newcastle 
Rick Ewig, Laramie 
Barbara Bogart, Evanston 
' Glen Morris, Kemmerer 
Linda Fabian, Cheyenne 
Marna Grubb, Green River 
Dick Wilder, Cody 
Amy Lawrence, Laramie 

Governor of Wyoming 

Jim Geringer 

Wyoming Dept. of Commerce 

( Gene Bryan, Director 
Karyl Robb, Administrator, Div. 
of Cultural Resources 

Vyoming Parks & Cultural 
[esources Commission 

William Dubois, Cheyenne 
Michael J. Devine, Laramie 
Laurie Latta, Pinedale 
Rosie Berger, Sheridan 
David Peck, Lovell 
Herb French, Newcastle 
Jere Bogrett, Riverton 
Hale Kreycik, Douglas 
Jeanne Hickey, Chevenne 

\^A nnals of 


1 he Wyoming .History J ournal 
Fall 1997, Vol. 69, No. 4 

When Harry Got Taken: 

The Early Days of the Yellowstone Camps 

by Mark Barringer 2 

A Brief History of Black Americans 

in the Yellowstone National Park area, 1872-1907 

by Lee Whittlesey 13 

The Development of Yellowstone: 
Myths, Realities, and Uneasy Prospects 

by Paul Schullery 21 

Wyoming J\Lemories 

Traveling to the Park 

Diaries of the Yellowstone Experience 

excerpts from the journals ofhovina Johnson and Margaret Gehrke 

Books about Wyoming and the West 

Reviews edited by Carl Hallberg 



Cavalry Yellow and Infantry Blue: Army Officers in Arizona Between 1851 and 1886 
by Constance Wynn Altshuler 

Alias Frank Canton 

by Robert K. DeArment 

The Oglala People, 1841-1879: A Political History 
by Catherine Price. 

Re-Imagining the Modern American West: A Century of Fiction, Histonj, and Art 
by Richard W. Etulain 

Wind Energi/ in America: A History 
by Robert W. Righter 

Wyoming: A Source Book 

by Roy A. Jordan and S. Brett DeBoer 

Hebard Collection Acquisitions 

Compiled by Tamsen L. Hert 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History journal is published by the Wyoming State Historical Society in 
association with the Wyoming Department of Commerce. The journal was previously published as the 
Quarterly Bulletin (1923-1925), Annals of Wyoming (1925-1993), Wyoming Aunals (1993-1995), and Wyoming 
History journal (1995-1996). The Annals has been the official publication of the Wyoming State Historical 
Society since 1953 and is distributed as a benefit of membership to all society members. Articles in Annals 
are abstracted in Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life. 

Editorial correspondence and inquiries about reprints and back issues should be addressed to Annals of 
Wyoming, American Heritage Center, P.O. Box 4256 University Station, Laramie, WY 82071. Inquiries 
about membership and distribution should be addressed to the Wyoming State Historical Society, 
1740H184 Dell Range Blvd., Cheyenne, Wyoming 82009. 

Copyright © 1997, Wyoming State Historical Society 

ISSN: 1086-7368 


^When Harry Got Taken: 

th^ early days of^he*Yel)owsione camp: 

by Marjc Btirringer 

National parks are a part of American culture. 
The more famous names among them — 
Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier — evoke 
childhood memories of family vacations, both in the 
minds of those who experienced the trips and those 
who, being family members or extremely tolerant 
neighbors, watched the home movies in basement 
family rooms. If taken in Yellowstone, all such 
movies featured the requisite shots of wildlife, gey- 
sers, and park rangers in their Smokey the Bear hats, 
and usually included famous landmarks like the Old 
Faithful Inn or the Canyon Hotel. These pictures, 
with samples of the natural, cultural, and human 
dimensions of the park, seemed to capture the 
essence of Yellowstone. 

But an important piece of the park fabric was 
missing from these home movies. Rarely did a tourist 
snap a photo or shoot a frame of a waitress, a bus dri- 
ver, or a maid; visitors purchased ice cream, sou- 
venirs, and gasoline in the park, never realizing that 
those who served them were also part of Yellowstone. 
In fact, concessionaires and their employees have 
been one of the most influential groups in park histo- 
ry, easily as important as the National Park Service 
(NPS) itself, both in the past and the present. Any his- 
torical analysis of national parks policy, any investi- 

gation of NPS administrative practices, any discus- 
sion of future management plans, remains incom- 
plete without accounting for the concessionaires] 
who remain the NPS's "silent partners" in park oper-^ 
ations. Nowhere is this more true than irj 
Yellowstone, where the Child and Nichols families, 
created a concessions empire that lasted for 75 years I 
Their story, a small portion of which follows, is thel 
untold history of Yellowstone. 

On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Granij 
signed a bill creating Yellowstone National 
Park. Almost before the ink was dry, entre- 
preneurs began positioning themselves to tak 
advantage of the potential tourist business, thu: 
launching a one-hundred-year period of concessions 
competition. First in line were local frontiersmen 
individualists who perceived the reservation as 
source of supplemental income. J. C. McCartney 
Henry Horr, Matthew McGuirk, Frank J. Haynes 
William Wylie — all of whom established themselves 
early as pioneers of visitor accommodations — 
catered to the small groups of self-guided adventur 
ers coming to the area. This early rush of business 
men, anxious to capitalize on park tourism, prompt 
ed the United States Department of the Interior t( 

'ALL, 1997 

nstitute a system of formal leases for operating in 
/ellowstone. By 1882 the Northern Pacific Railroad, 
hrough various shadow corporations and front men 
— among them Harry W. Child, a native Californian 
vith extensive Montana land holdings and business 
:onnections — controlled most concession leases 
ind dominated visitor services such as 
lotels and transportation. This company 
naintained its position for the next 
ifty years, first actively and later as 
i silent partner. 

After Theodore Roosevelt 
Droke the Northern Securities 
Zompany trust in 1904, the 
sforthern Pacific quietly 
)egan phasing out its 
Yellowstone operations. In 
.905 the railroad sold 
me-half of its stock in park 
:oncessions for $82,150. 
Two years later the compa- 
vy divested itself of the 
emainder of its holdings, 
.elling out for an additional 
3268,195. This withdrawal 
eft a vacuum, a void to be 
illed by those most adept 
rrtost visionary, sometimes most 
)pportunistic. Usually, Harry 
llhild possessed all of these quali 
jies — in fact it was he who pur- 
chased the Northern Pacific stock. But 
imce, only once, early in Yellowstone 
\istory, Harry got taken. 1 

Harry W. Child was a man of many 
talents, foremost among them making 
noney. Born in 1857 in California, he 
vas educated in the East and moved to 
'vlontana as a young man, becoming involved in the 
lucrative mining industry there. By the age of thirty 
he was general manager of the Gregory Mine south- 

Harry W. Child 

(Montana Historical 

Society, Helena) 

west of Helena and owned a large home on that city's 
fashionable Madison Avenue, two doors from the res- 
idence of Territorial Governor Samuel Hauser. At the 
turn of the century he was operating out of Salesville 
(now Gallatin Gateway), Montana, as proprietor of 
the local bank. He later partnered with area ranch- 
er Charles Anceney to form a land company 
and to found the famous Flying D Ranch 
on Spanish Creek, a concern encom- 
passing over 500,000 acres and sup- 
porting at times 200,000 head of 
cattle. From 1891 until 1907 he 
operated several Yellowstone 
concessions, including the 
Yellowstone Park Hotel 
Company (YPHC) and the 
Yellowstone Park Transpor- 
tation Company (YPTC), 
using Northern Pacific 
money instead of his own. 
All of his ventures proved 
profitable; Child was a mil- 
lionaire before reaching age 
fifty. As a proven if not thor- 
oughly trusted administrator 
and widely known as "Harry 
hard-up" for his frugality, 
Child earned the respect and 
benefited from the capital of 
Northern Pacific officials. 2 

Early in the 1900s, business 
was booming. Travelers, most of whom 
fit into one of four categories with dis- 
tinct social hierarchies, flocked to 
Yellowstone in increasing numbers 
every year, and most left at least part of 
their vacation budget in Harry Child's 
pocket. Lowest on the list were the 
"sagebrushers," individuals who came in wagons or 
on horses, camping wherever they wished — Child 

1. "An Act to Set Apart a Certain Tract of Land Lying Near 
he Headwaters of the Yellowstone River as a Public Park," in 
.ary M. Dilsaver, ed., America's National Park System: The Critical 
documents (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 
'994), pp. 28-29; Richard A. Bartlett, Yellowstone: A Wilderness 
tesieged (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1989), pp. 116, 176; 
ohn Ise, Our National Park Policy: A Critical History (Baltimore: 
ohns Hopkins University Press, 1962), pp. 32-37. 

2. Bartlett, A Wilderness Besieged, pp. 173-175; "Miscellan- 
eous Files of Harry W. Child," microfilm, reel #1, Yellowstone 
Park Company Records, Burlingame Special Collections, Mon- 
tana State University-Bozeman Libraries, Bozeman, Montana 
(hereafter cited as MSU-Bozeman); Carl J. White, "Financial 
Frustration in Territorial Montana," Montana The Magazine of 
Western History 17 (Spring, 1967): 44; Michael P. Malone, "The 
Gallatin Canyon and the Tides of History," Montana The A lagazine 
of Western History 23 (Julv, 1973): 7; The Anceneys of the Flying D. 
Ranch (Bozeman, MT: Gallatin County Historical Society, L986). 

Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

saw little of their money. Next were those who toured 
the park via the system of tent camps that had sprung 
up near major attractions like Old Faithful and the 
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. These peo- 
ple spent a comparatively small amount of money for 
basic services — transport on small independently 
operated stagecoaches, lodging in canvas tents, and 
plain fare at meals. Because of the low prices charged 
for such tours, they soon became a most popular 
method of seeing the park, and appealed especially 
to school teachers and other less affluent folk. As the 
number of these visitors increased, so did Child's 
interest in them. The third and most numerous group 
were the "couponers," those who bought packaged 
tours through railroad traffic agents and spent a 
tightly scheduled three-and- one-half days traveling 
from place to place. Such tours included meals, lodg- 
ing, and transportation through the park — all in 
Child's gourmet restaurants, luxurious hotels, and 
roomy stagecoaches. The fourth and final group con- 
sisted of the well-to-do vacationers who traditional- 
ly spent upwards of two weeks in the park, idly mov- 
ing from the spacious lobby of the Old Faithful Inn to 
the hotels at Canyon, Mammoth, or Lake at their 
leisure. Again, like the couponers, these individuals 
spent their money with Child. 3 

With the YPHC, the YPTC, and, after 1911, 
the Yellowstone Park Boat Company offer- 
ing excursions on Yellowstone Lake, Child 
served the most — and the most affluent — travelers 
and dominated Yellowstone concessions. But one 
operator, William Wylie, who owned a system of tent 

3. "Travel Memorandum, Yellowstone National Park, for 
June, July and August, 1916 and 1917," box YPC 3, file "Historical 
2," Yellowstone National Park Research Library, Mammoth Hot 
Springs, Wyoming (hereafter cited as YNP); Department of the 
Interior, Yellowstone National Park, Office of the Superintendent, 
"Memo of Park Travel Season of 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916," box 3, 
file "Yellowstone National Park-Miscellaneous," Howard H. 
Hays Collection, American Heritage Center, Laramie, Wyoming 
(hereafter cited as AHC); "Earnings of Wylie Permanent 
Camping Company 1906-1916," ibid. For an exhaustive collec- 
tion of park travel accounts and anecdotes, see Aubrey L. Haines, 
The Yellowstone Story (Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone 
Library and Museum Association and Colorado Associated 
University Press, 1977), II: 100-160. 

camps, resisted all such influence. He managed his 
business under a series of one-year contracts with the 
Interior Department from 1892 until 1896, when he 
acquired a long-term lease, his tents were replaced 
with solid, wood-and-canvas structures, and his loca- 
tions became permanent settlements. Wylie constant- 
ly irritated the wealthy and snobbish Child because 
the tourists who used his camps were a different sort, 
not at all like those who stayed at the posh hotels; his 
guests paid low prices for Spartan accommodations 
and dust-plagued stagecoach tours. Wylie strenuous- 
ly resisted all attempts to be driven out of business, 
even when the railroad and the YPHC together 
undercut prices to force his withdrawal. In 1905, he 
won this fight over unfair practices in a hearing 
before the Interstate Commerce Commission and 
seemingly was in Yellowstone to stay. 4 

Despite this setback, Child remained quietly 
determined to acquire the Wylie camps, a goal he 
would accomplish in 1905. After making repeated but 
unsuccessful appeals to his Washington political con- 
tacts, and wary of the Northern Pacific, to whom he 
already owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, he 
approached familiar, local allies to dispose of his 
competition. One such man was A. W. Miles, whoi 
owned a large, profitable dry goods establishment 
and a grocery store in nearby Livingston, Montana 
He was also Wy lie's main supplier, having extended, 
generous credit to the camping company for many 
years, and thus could exert added pressure. Another 
was A. L. Smith of Helena, an officer of the State Bank 
of Montana, who was always willing to finance a 
promising venture. In 1905, shortly after the Inter- 
state Commerce Commission ruled for Wylie, these 
three purchased the camping company. Child, noti 
wanting railroad officials to know that he was using 
profits from the hotel and transportation companies 
for this purpose, remained a silent partner. To further 
the subterfuge he had Smith purchase the stock for 

4. E. H. Moorman, "Journal of Years of Work Spent in 
Yellowstone National Park 1899-1948," MS, 8, YNP; [Jack Ellisi 
Haynes], "Wiley," box C-17, file "W. W. Wylie and O. Anderson, 
2, ibid. Child took over the Yellowstone Park Boat Company in 
1911 in a partnership with his son-in-law William "Billie" 
Nichols and Howard Elliot, then president of the Northern 
Pacific. Nichols contributed none of the $75,000 purchase price;; 
Child, typically, bruoght him in on the deal because he was fam- 
ily See Warren Delano to Harry W. Child, May 16, 1911, Box YPC 
24, file "YP Boat Co., 1914-1930," ibid; Child to Howard Eliot, 
May 26, 1911, ibid.; Delano to Child, May 31, 1911, ibid. 

The Wylie camp at Swan Lake. (National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park) 

him, paying cash for a two-thirds share. Miles bought 
the other one-third by calling in Wylie's outstanding 
bill for supplies. The new partners incorporated in 
West Virginia, well out of Northern Pacific territory, 
[as the Wylie Permanent Camping Company, taking 
advantage of the well-known "Wylie Way" advertis- 
ing slogan by retaining the former owner's name. 5 

Over the next several years the company 
became immensely successful, largely due to 
the injection of new capital, the fortuitous- 
ness of good timing, and the business acumen (and 
i railroad connections) of Child and Miles. In 1906, the 
! first summer after the new owners assumed control, 

5. Ise, Our National Park Policy, pp. 39-40; Moorman, 
"Journal of Years in Yellowstone," p. 8, YNP; [Jack Ellis Haynes], 
"Wiley," 2, ibid; F. J. Haynes to James R. Hickey, September 2, 
1917, box 16, folder 13, collection 1500, F. J. Haynes Papers, 
MSU-Bozeman; Dan Miles to Jack Ellis Haynes, May 9, 1951, box 
39, folder 25, collection 1504, Jack Ellis Haynes Papers, ibid.; 
Livingston [Montana] Enterprise, September 4, 5, 1919. 

visitation to Yellowstone increased nearly 100 per- 
cent, from 13,727 in 1904 to 26,188. Now that the 
camps were in friendly hands, railroad ticket agents, 
loyal to Child because of his Northern Pacific con- 
nections, promoted them as well as the more expen- 
sive hotel tours. The Portland Industrial Exposition 
and Trade Fair attracted people from Chicago and 
points east over the Northern Pacific rails to visit the 
Exposition in Oregon, many of whom took advan- 
tage of special package tours and stopped at 
Yellowstone for a three or four-day excursion. That 
summer, 3,668 guests stayed in the camps. At the 
same time the company added to its four existing 
locations by constructing Camp Roosevelt near 
Tower Falls and establishing a site on Swan Lake Flat, 
about five miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs. 
Two years later, the Union Pacific Railroad complet- 
ed a branch line to West Yellowstone; Child and Miles 
took advantage of the new revenue source by build- 
ing a camp at Riverside, five miles inside the West 
entrance. In 1909 another exposition, this one in 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journai 

Seattle, again drew large crowds to the park; a record 
5,024 people visited the "Wylie" camps. 6 

By 1909 the company had expanded greatly, hav- 
ing accumulated 27 large passenger coaches, 63 
mountain spring wagons, 4 surreys, and 378 horses, 
while repaying its owners handsomely. But Child, 
who seemingly wanted nothing more than complete 
control of park business, uncharacteristically decided 
to reduce his holdings. That same year he agreed to 
sell half his interest, or one-third of the company, to 
Frank J. Haynes, a longtime Yellowstone operator. On 
May 14 the two signed a contract to exchange 333 1/3 
shares of Wylie Permanent Camping Company stock 
for $60,000. Interior Secretary Richard Ballinger ap- 
proved the deal and on September 22 the two princi- 
pals signed papers transferring the stock but giving 
Child the right of first refusal if Haynes decided to 
sell. 7 

Haynes was an unlikely partner in the camping 
company venture but he profited immensely from 
Child's puzzling decision. He was the official park 
photographer and, since the departure of Wylie, had 
been Child's chief antagonist. He operated in direct 
competition with the Yellowstone Park Transpor- 
tation Company, conveying tourists into the reserva- 
tion from the west on his Yellowstone and Western 
Stage Lines. The two men were not fond of each other 
— Haynes enjoyed the friendship of park adminis- 
trators, while Child remained aloof unless there was 
profit involved — but they nonetheless became 
uneasy partners in the camping company. Haynes 
bought the stock on credit extended by Child's pet 
banker, A. L. Smith of Helena; the purchase was a 
smart move as he, Child, and Miles shared $75,000 in 
dividends in 1909. He also used his Wylie stock for 
years as collateral for other projects. 8 

The stock sale to Haynes marked one of the few 
times between 1909 and 1930 that Child die | 
not have effective control of an importanl D 
Yellowstone franchise. He typically prevailed in. the >} 
financial skirmishes constantly being waged among! v 
Yellowstone concessioners, and through his active 
accumulation of businesses the consolidation of park 
operations, although complicated, began to take; 
shape. Only the camping concession eluded his 
grasp. In 1905, Yellowstone had three transportation 
companies, three store operators, and two camping 
companies, among other small concerns; visitors 
often spent as much time fending off agents, promot 
ers, and salesmen as they did seeing the park. By 
1914, a total of twelve separate franchisees operated 
in Yellowstone. Child controlled the largest of these, 
including the YPHC, YPTC, and the Yellowstone 
Park Boat Company. He had a financial interest in 
others, such as his one-third of the Wylie Permanent 
Camping Company, and rarely missed an opportuni- 
ty to increase his holdings. In 1915, he provided the 
cash for his secretary, Charles Ashworth Hamilton, toi 
purchase the Henry E. Klamer general store near Old 
Faithful. Hamilton, who remained close to Child both 
personally and financially for years, later bought a 
store at Mammoth from Anna K. Pryor and her sister, 
Elizabeth Trischman, and one at Canyon from George 
Whittaker. So Child was involved, either directly or 
indirectly, in almost all aspects of visitor services. But 
his reduced holdings in the Wylie Permanent 
Camping Company and the emergence of an upstart 
competitor, the Shaw and Powell Camping. 
Company, kept the camping concession out of his 
control. 9 

Three factors, one within the park and two with- 

6. Moorman, "Journal of Years in Yellowstone," 8, YNP; [J. E. 
Haynes], "Wiley," 2, ibid; "Statement of Net Earnings, Wylie 
Camping Company, Dividends," box 16, folder 12, collection 
1500, MSU-Bozeman; Department of the Interior, "Memo of Park 
Travel Season of 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916," AHC; "Earnings of 
Wylie Permanent Camping Company 1906-1916," ibid.; Maury 
Klein, Union Pacific: The Rebirth 1894-1969 (New York: 
Doubleday, 1990), 327. 

7. [Jack Ellis Haynes], "Wiley," 2, YNP; Richard A. Ballinger 
to Child, July 10, 1909, box 16, folder 11, collection 1500, 
MSU-Bozeman; contract between E J. Haynes and Harry Child, 
September 22, 1909, ibid. 

8. A. L. Smith to E J. Haynes, December 12, 1912, box 16, 
folder 14, collection 1500, MSU-Bozeman. Child and Haynes 
enjoyed a spirited competition in park business for decades, a 

tradition passed down to their successors. Descriptions of the 
relationship can be found in Bartlett, A Wilderness Besieged, and ini 
Haines, The Yellowstone Story, II. 

9. Bartlett, A Wilderness Besieged, 194; Wayne Replogle,; 
"History of Yellowstone Natonal Park Concessions," MS, YNP; 
Acting Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, to Secretary 
of the Interior, June 16, 1915, box C-16, file "H. E. Klamer and C. 
A. Hamilton," ibid.; contract between Mary Klamer and C. A. 
Hamilton, November 23, 1914, ibid.; George Pryor, assignment of 
lease to Elizabeth Trischman, October 19, 1912, box C-16, file 
"Pryor and Pryor, Holm Transportation Company," ibid.; Walter 
J. Henderson and Alexander Lyall, assignment of lease to George 
Whittaker, February 8, 1913, box C-17, file "J. H. Ash, G. 
Whittaker," ibid. Several other minor concessioners operated 
during this time. For a comprehensive listing, see Haines, The 
Yellowstone Story, II, 364-366. 

Fall, 1997 

out, caused a massive restructuring of Yellowstone 
concessions operations between 1915 and 1917 and 
cnoved the camping business farther from his grasp. 
The first was the arrival of the automobile. Child, 
who had large sums tied up in livestock and stage- 
coaches, had lobbied the Interior Department suc- 
cessfully for several years to keep cars out of 
Yellowstone. The Northern Pacific and Union Pacific 
railroads, who had equally large sums tied up in 
dhild and whose spur lines ended at the park, joined 
rum in this cause. But in 1915, despite their best 
efforts, the first autos passed through the north 
?ntrance at Gardiner, Montana, and Child made 
plans to motorize the YPTC. Unable to change from 
stagecoaches to busses quickly, and while vehement- 
ly protesting to Washington officials about the incom- 
ipatibility of cars and the traditional horse-drawn 
wagons on the narrow park roads, he and the other 
concessioners formed the Cody-Sylvan Pass Motor 
(Company, a rare cooperative effort by several major 
park franchisees. 10 

This company existed only briefly during the 
(summer of 1916. Shortly after the season ended, as 
Child, Haynes, and the others counted profits amid 
the snow squalls of autumn, the second factor forcing 
reorganization appeared, one that would remain a 
constant consideration in all concession matters. The 
United States National Park Service (NPS), a newly 
formed branch of the Interior Department, became 
custodians of the park, taking over from the U.S. 
Army contingent that had served there since 1887. 
The agency's dynamic chief, Stephen T. Mather, and 
his assistant Horace M. Albright were, like Harry 
j Child, native Calif ornians and adept businessmen, 
and had complete control over all National Park 
operations. Foremost on their agenda was a consoli- 
dation of Yellowstone concessions, which had 
become ungovernable as operators multiplied. They 
believed that the competition among franchisees was 
detrimental to the traveling public and that monopo- 
lies for each major facet of the operation — hotels, 

transportation, and camping — would simplify 
administration and increase visitation. Mather and 
Albright focused their attention on Child, who, 
despite his continued protests about automobiles, 
nonetheless remained the most capable and finan- 
cially solvent of the concessioners. And the two NPS 
officials were completely committed to motorize the 
transportation concession. 11 

Mather and Albright tried and failed to con- 
vince the park operators to agree upon a 
permanent plan for motorization, finally 
imposing one of their own design. In November, 
1916, Albright met in Chicago with the main Yellow- 
stone concessioners and their attorneys — a lot of 
money was at stake — to find a solution. During the 
four-and-one-half-hour session they debated four 
proposals, ranging from individual motorization by 
each business, a solution unacceptable to the NPS, to 
organizing a single company, like the temporary 
Cody-Sylvan Pass Lines, with ownership proportion- 
ate to investment in the park. None of the proposals 
were approved. The meeting ended after all parties 
agreed, in principle, to a single transportation opera- 
tion, with NPS Director Mather deciding which of the 
park operators would acquire this valuable franchise. 
Thus, in December, Mather called the concessioners 
to Washington and presented them with a sweeping 
and uncompromising plan for reorganization. 12 

Through his program for consolidation, Mather 
simplified ownership and operations of all conces- 
sions, but left the camping business in a weakened 
condition. He allowed the Yellowstone Park Hotel 
Company to keep its lodgings, and awarded the 
hotly contested transportation monopoly to the 
Yellowstone Park Transportation Company. Child 
thus had a solid hold on the two most profitable busi- 
nesses in the park. Using threats of franchise cancel- 
lation as leverage, Mather instructed Haynes to sur- 
render his stock in the Wylie company and sell his 

10. Richard A. Bartlett, "Those Infernal Machines in 
| Yellowstone," Montana The Magazine of Western History 20 (July, 
1 1970), 16-26; Bartlett, A Wilderness Besieged, 82-87; "Minutes of 
Concessioner Meeting," November 18, 1916, box 22, folder 20, 
collection 1500, MSU-Bozeman. The Cody-Sylvan Pass Motor 
Company was owned by Child, Haynes, and the operators of the 
Shaw and Powell Camps Company; Child held approximately 35 
percent, Haynes 40 percent. 

11. Replogle, "History of Yellowstone Concessions," YNP; 
Moorman, "Journal of Years in Yellowstone," 14-15, ibid; Robert 
Shankland, Steve Mather of the National Parks (3d ed.; New York: 
Alfred A. Knopf, 1970), 120-128. 

12. "Minutes of Concessioner Meeting," November 18, 1916, 
box 22, folder 20, collection 1500, MSU-Bozeman; F. J. Haynes to 
Hickeyjuly 18, 1917, box 16, 

folder 13, ibid. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Yellowstone and Western Stage Lines to Child, and 
retire from all but his photographic business. Fur- 
thermore, Mather demanded that Child, like Haynes, 
forfeit his interest in the camping business and trans- 
fer his and Haynes' stock, along with $5,000 in Trans- 
portation Company stock, to an escrow account. The 
stock was to be used by Child's former partner A. W. 
Miles, J.D. Powell of the Shaw and Powell Company, 
and an assortment of minority investor, to finance a 
new camping monopoly. In return, this group con- 
ceded all rights to transportation. Mather neglected 
to provide adequate guarantees of capitalization for 
this new company, however, and his oversight would 
soon cause more problems. 13 

The final factor affecting reorganization, simply 
because it made some operations financially unten- 
able, was the United States entry into World War I in 
1917. Railroads, primary carriers of tourists for the 
park businesses, were subjected to government con- 
trol through the U.S. Railroad Administration and 
were no longer free to schedule excursions to Yellow- 
stone. The consequent reduction in travel caused the 
hotel company to close down most of its facilities 
during 1917 and 1918. The camps of the newly form- 
ed Yellowstone Park Camping Company remained 
open (under NPS orders) but lost money. All park 
operators suffered; even Child, who had borrowed 
heavily from the railroads to purchase over 100 White 
Motor Company busses in 1917, missed note pay- 
ments during this time. His companies, however, 
stayed solvent. But the camping business did not 
have this cushion and, when tourists returned after 
the cessation of hostilities, its previously tenuous 
financial problems soon became irreversible. 14 

The Yellowstone Park Camping Company, 
formed early in 1917 under orders from NPS director 

13. "Minutes of Stockholders' Meeting, Yellowstone Park 
Camping Company," May 11, 1918, box YPC 14, file "YP Lodges 
and Camps," YNP; "Minutes of Concessioner Meeting," 
November 18, 1916, box 22, folder 20, collection 1500, 
MSU-Bozeman; F. J. Haynes to Hickey, July 18, 1917, box 16, fold- 
er 13, ibid. 

14. John Morton Blum, Woodroiv Wilson and the Politics of 
Morality (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1956), 137-138; 
[Jack Ellis Haynes], "Yellowstone Park Camping Co.," MS, box 
C4, file "Yellowstone Park Company," YNP; Gerard J. Pesman 
and Helen I. Pesman, "Yellowstone's Transition from 
Stagecoaches to Yellow Buses," MS, 14, ibid.; United States 
Department of the Interior, Yellowstone National Park, Office of 
the Superintendent, "Annual Report of the Superintendent, 
Yellowstone National Park, for the year 1917," ibid. 

Mather, had been plagued with difficulties from itsj 
inception and was now, after the summer of 1918, on! 
the verge of collapse. The war limited visitation. The! 
ownership was fragmented. Majority stockholders! 
Miles and Powell, both experienced in camp opera- 1 
tions, were losing interest as profits lagged. The NPS 
established free campgrounds for auto visitors, cut-l 
ting into the company share of business. And Child) 
never delivered the agreed-upon $5,000 in YPTC 
stock to the new owners. Worse yet, he had also failed 
to deliver half the Wylie shares bought back fromi 
Haynes at Mather's direction; instead of placing 
them in escrow as ordered, Child had directed banker' 
(and escrow officer) A. L. Smith to give these shares 
to his son-in-law Billie Nichols and to Miles. Only the; 
efforts of one man — general manager Ed Moorman 1 
— kept the company operating through the 1918 sea-n 
son. He had been an employee of William Wylie and 
had remained the hands-on manager of the camps 
throughout its many permutations, lending a much- 
needed sense of continuity. Despite his struggles tc 
keep the business viable, changes were inevitable 
after the disastrous war years. 15 

Another longtime company employee 
Howard Hays, was himself becoming rest-| 
less and desirous of change. He had starter 
selling camp tours as a travel agent in Salt Lake Ci 
in 1905 and had risen through the ranks to become 
general agent and traffic manager by 1916. After 
eleven years of promoting the "Wylie Way" in news-; 
papers, at trade shows, and even at World's Fairs, 

15. The stockholders of the new company included A. W. 
Miles, John D. Powell, Dan Miles, Eunice C. Shaw, Jessie E. Shaw, 
L. C. Shaw, W. C. Shaw, Alice Hight, and Viola Powell. See the 
two escrow receipts dated May 5, 1919, box 3, file "Yellowstone 
National Park Miscellaneous," Howard H. Hays Collection, 
AHC; also, escrow receipt, May 6, 1919, ibid.; Horace Mi 
Albright, "Yellowstone's Camps," New York Times, February 20, 
1921, sec. VII, p. 7; Moorman, "Journal of Years in Yellowstone," 
YNP. The stock transaction that was to have occurred became the 
basis for a later lawsuit between Haynes and Child. The stock 
had split in 1912, which meant that Haynes, although still own- 
ing 1/3 of the company, now held 666 2/3 shares of stock 
Mather's deal specified that Child was to purchase Haynes 
interest, but he only had to deliver into escrow 333 1/3 shares 
Hence, Child divided the remaining 333 1/3 between Miles anc 
Nichols. Later, when Mather discovered this loophole in the 
agreement, Child surrendered the stock. See F. J. Haynes tq 
Hickey, July 18, 1917, box 16, folder 13, collection 1500 
MSU-Bozeman; Hickey to Haynes, August 20, 1917, ibid. 
Hickey to Haynes, September 15, 1917, ibid. 

-ALL, 1997 

lays joined the Chicago and Northwestern Railway 
ind Union Pacific Railway, managing their combined 
Department of Tours for a brief period. Then, during 
he war, he worked for the U.S. Railway Admin- 
stration's Bureau of Service, again in Chicago. Now, 
lfter his service ended, he wanted to become in- 
volved in Yellowstone again. 16 

Hays could not have had better timing. Harry 
Zhild was in ill health, a combination of diabetes and 
Dther chronic disorders making his continued sur- 
ival suspect. His son Huntley had recently run afoul 
)f NPS Director Mather and had been banished from 
ill park businesses. The war had been profitable to 
many in the United States, and investment capital 
vas abundant. Moreover, Mather and Albright were 
lot happy with the consolidation that they had 
effected and were interested in facilitating a change; 
ihey were concerned with the financial condition of 
he camping company and with the future of the 
)ther concessions if Child should die. 17 

Hays originally planned to return to Yellowstone 
:oncessions, but his goal soon became larger and 
nvolved many men experienced in western tourism, 
n December, 1918, he learned that his close friend 
toe Emery was on the verge of acquiring a trans- 
portation monopoly in Colorado's Rocky Mountain 
\Tational Park, and the two concocted a scheme to 
iorm one corporation, with sufficient capital and 
'Xpertise, and monopolize tourist services in Yellow- 
stone, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain national parks. 
5ut, while their experience was sufficient, neither 
assessed such capital. So Hays, through Emery, met 
vith Walter White of the White Motor Company in 
Ileveland, an industrialist who had made millions 
>uilding vehicles for the Armed Forces. White was 
Iready involved in the parks through his deals with 
r arious transportation concessions and would be the 
iinancial partner in the fast-forming organization, 
jiays next broached the subject with Gerrit Fort, who 
vas an official with the U.S. Railroad Administration 

16. Howard H. Hays, "Occupation: Howard H. Hays' 
Ihronology to the Present," box 3, file "Yellowstone National 
'ark-Miscellaneous," Howard H. Hays Collection, AHC; Salt 
ake Evening Telegram, October 30, 1914. 

17. Bartlett, A Wilderness Besieged, 174; Shankland, Steve 
lather of the National Parks, p. 125; Howard H. Hays to Walter 
Vhite, March 27, 1919, box 3, file "1916-1919 correspondence," 
loward H. Hays Collection, AHC; Hays to Gerrit Fort, 
)ecember28, 1918, ibid. 

Howard Hays in 1921. (Haynes Foundation Collection, 
Montana Historical Society) 

and, like himself, ready for new adventures; Fort ex- 
pressed a cautious interest in the idea. The men then 
contacted NPS Assistant Director Albright, who by 
1919 would become Superintendent of Yellowstone; 
he assured Hays that the Park Service would be 
receptive to any such proposal. The group, with the 
full knowledge and support of the NPS, was plotting 
no less than a complete takeover of concessions in 
three of the largest national parks. 18 

Encouraged by the interest, Hays proceeded to 
work on the ambitious scheme while keeping 
other options open. On January 5, 1919, he 
traveled to San Diego, where Child lived during the 
winter months, to inquire if the assets of the YPHC 
and the YPTC might be for sale. He wrote to Emery 
and stated that, if the news was positive, he would 

18. James H. Pickering, foreword to The Rocky Mountain 
Wonderland by Enos A. Mills (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1991), xxx; Hays to Fort, December 28, 1918, box 3, file 
"1916-1919 correspondence," Howard H. Hays Collection, AHC; 
Fort to Hays, January 2, 1919, ibid.; Horace M. Albright to Hays, 
January 2, 1919, ibid.; Emery to Hays, [December, 1918], ibid. 
White was well-equipped to finance such a transaction; his war- 
tax bill for 1918 totaled over $4 million. He likely bankrolled 
Emery in his Rocky Mountain Transportation enterprise. 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

communicate by telegram using a prearranged code. 
He also met with A. W. Miles of the camping compa- 
ny and established a backup position for himself, 
learning that, if he partnered with longtime compa- 
ny-man Moorman in a purchase, that business could 
be had for $150,000 with generous terms. 19 

The backup plan was a wise maneuver because 
the more ambitious strategy of a complete takeover 
came together quickly but, lacking money, just as 
quickly lost momentum. Early in January Hays 
received a positive response from Child, who insisted 
that for ten years he had wanted out, but no one had 
ever made him an acceptable offer. Even now, neither 
man truly believed that a deal could be struck; Child 
did not think that Hays could muster the financial 
means to buy his Yellowstone businesses (Walter 
White, because he supplied the busses for the YPTC, 
had insisted that Hays keep his involvement secret), 
and Hays was skeptical of ever agreeing on a price. 
By the end of the month Hays learned that White had 
been unable to interest any bankers in backing the 
potential deal. He then turned to James Hannaford of 
the Northern Pacific, which currently held an 
$800,000 mortgage on the park hotels, to inquire 
about bypassing Child altogether, but Hannaford 
refused to betray his long-time client. So Hays, while 
still hoping somehow to finance the entire purchase, 
turned his attention to his fallback position with the 
camps. 20 

The Yellowstone Park Camping Company thus 
became the focus of much attention, even competi- 
tion, in the spring of 1919, and as a consequence 
Harry Child discovered that his position as the pre- 
eminent Yellowstone deal maker was in jeopardy. 
Unstable financially, the company attracted potential 
buyers. Child wanted the business in the worst way; 
he still seethed about the imposed restructuring that 
had forced him to relinquish control, though most 
would argue that he received the best of the deal. No 

19. Hays to Emery, January 4, 1919, box 3, file "1916-1919 
correspondence," Howard H. Hays Collection, AHC; Hays to 
Fort, January 4, 1919, ibid.; Hays to Mather and Albright, January 
4, 1919, ibid. 

20. Hays to Mather and Albright, December 28, 1918, box 3, 
file "1916-1919 correspondence," Howard H. Hays Collection, 
AHC; Hays to Albright, January 20, 1919, ibid.; Hays to Fort, 
January 22, 1919, ibid.; Child to Hays, January 27, 1919, ibid.; 
White to Hays, January 28, 1919, ibid.; A. W. Miles to Hays, 
January 31, 1919, ibid. 

one believed that he, even now with failing health, 
would ever quit Yellowstone, despite his remonstra- 
tions to the contrary. But he wanted the camping 
company at a bargain and, knowing that Hays was 
interested but believing him unable to acquire financ- 
ing, mistakenly waited for the owners to lower their 
asking price before striking. He even sent an encour- 
aging, if patronizing, note to Hays, advising him not 
to "be discouraged, little boy, but stand up to the* 
dough dish." Hays, however, had managed to inter 
est Emery and White in this smaller acquisition, byi 
promoting it as a possible springboard to complete* 
concessions control. He had also persuaded Mather 
and Albright to restructure the franchise contract so 
that the government would take a smaller percentage 
of the profits. This deal White could finance on his 
own; by April 10, 1919, Hays was riding a Northern 
Pacific train East from Forsyth, Montana, with am 
option to purchase the Yellowstone Park Camping 
Company. The buyout proceeded smoothly. Hays, 
Emery, and silent-partner White gave the stockhold^ 
ers of the company approximately $70,000 in cash! 
and notes payable for another $70,000. They cut 
Moorman in on the deal (at Miles' insistence),; 
changed the name slightly (from Yellowstone Parkl 
Camping Company to Yellowstone Park Camps 
Company), and by June had complete operational! 
control. Child fumed; they had stolen it from under 
his nose, and the camping business he wanted so 
badly had again eluded him. 21 

With the assistance of Moorman, Hays quickly 
began rebuilding the rundown company, adding 
more substantial facilities to compete with the NPS 
free campgrounds. In 1919 they constructed a new 
lodge at Camp Roosevelt, providing offices and a 
dining room, and later added an "assembly house/' 
Frame cabins were erected at several locations tc 
replace some longstanding canvas-walled structures 
In 1920 they erected Lake Lodge and "delicatessens' 
at Old Faithful and Fishing Bridge, two of the most 

21. Hays to White, January 29, 1919, box 3, file "1916-1919 
correspondence," Howard H. Hays Collection, AHC; Hays t( 
Emery, January 30, 1919, ibid.; Hays to Fort, February 3, 1919 
ibid.; Child to Hays, February 14, 1919, ibid.; Hays to White 
March 27, 1919, ibid.; Hays to Fort, April 10, 1919, ibid.; escrov 
receipt, May 6, 1919, ibid.; escrow receipt, May 5, 1919, ibid. 

Fall, 1997 

\A tent cabin campground at Canyon. (American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming) 

heavily-visited sites. Old Faithful also received a 
"large dance hall" for tourist amusement. At 
Mammoth, Hays and Moorman expanded the exist- 
ing camp and added both a swimming pool and a 
laundry for tourist use. By 1923 the Mammoth Lodge 
was open for business, and the following year the 
lodge at Sylvan Pass became operational. The two 
men also promoted the business admirably, increas- 
ing both visitation and profits annually 22 

Other interested parties — including Emery, 
White, Albright, and Child — observed this progress 
with varying levels of interest and concern. Emery 
was least involved, as his interest in the camps was 
Durely financial and the transportation franchise in 
[Rocky Mountain National Park occupying most of 
lis attention. White concealed his stake in the com- 
pany by having his stock issued in Hays' name and 
keeping it, along with a deed of trust for his wife, in 
i Cleveland safe deposit box. In this way, whenever 

22. Moorman, "Journal of Years in Yellowstone," 17-19, 
ji'NP; "Comparative Travel Statistics for Yellowstone Park 
During 1919 and 1920 to September 18th," box YPC 12, file "trav- 
el 1918-1920," ibid.; Haines, The Yellowstone Story, II, 361. 

Child came East to purchase more busses for his 
transportation business, White could deny holding 
stock in the camping company — Child would not 
likely do business with a competitor. Albright active- 
ly supported Hays, still believing that the goal of a 
consolidated concessions operation, encompassing 
several parks, was feasible. But the other principals 
had abandoned the idea of ever taking the hotels and 
transportation away from Child. Instead, buoyed by 
the success of Hays, Emery and White began investi- 
gating opportunities at other parks and contented 
themselves with the growing amount of money taken 
in by the camps. 23 

In the spring of 1924 the Yellowstone Park Camps 
Company was a solid, profitable, well-run operation. 
But due to a fortunate set of circumstances, Harry 
Child finally got another chance to own the monop- 
oly that had eluded his control for so many years. His 
interest in park business was renewed; after battling 
chronic illness since 1918, he was reinvigorated by 

23. White to Hays, October 2, 1922, box 3, file "1920-1924 
correspondence," Howard H. Hays Collection, AHC; White to 
Hays, October 7, 1922, ibid.; Hays to Emery April 2, L923, ibid.; 
White to Hays, March 17, 1924, ibid. 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

the discovery of insulin in 1921. And now Hays was 
himself ill, hospitalized with pleurisy in Livingston. 
In addition, Emery and White had discovered other 
opportunities in Glacier and Sequoia National Parks 
in which they wanted to invest, and wished Hays to 
participate. Using Hays' illness as a pretext (so as not 
to give the impression of profit-taking to Mather and 
Albright, with whom they would still have to deal), 
the three partners, through Hays, made Child aware 
that they were interested in selling the camping com- 
pany 24 

Having missed one opportunity, Child did not 
hesitate to seize this one, but painstakingly concealed 
his ownership. Throughout the negotiating process, 
he insisted that in all correspondence the company be 
referred to as "the sheep ranch." Then, instead of 
buying the camps outright he sent a front man to con- 
summate the purchase. In April, 1924, California 
hotelier Vernon Goodwin and Billie Nichols, by now 
firmly ensconced as Child's second-in-command, 
arrived at the Park County Hospital in Livingston 
and, after further lengthy negotiations, purchased the 
camping company for $660,000. Press releases 
announcing the transfer named Goodwin as presi- 
dent of the company, and the omnipresent A. L. 
Smith, Child's Helena banker, served as secretary 
and treasurer. Within a year Child traveled to 
Cleveland to sign a purchase order for another eighty 
White busses, but even then would not admit to own- 
ing the camps, much as White had denied his own 
role to Child. 25 

24. Bartlett, A Wilderness Besieged, p. 174; White to Hays, 
March 17, 1924, box 3, file "1920-1924 correspondence," Howard 
H. Hays Collection, AHC; Hays to Child, March 23, 1924, ibid.; 
Child to Hays, March 24, 1924, ibid.; White to Hays, March 24, 
1924, ibid.; Emery to Hays, March 29, 1924, ibid.; White to Hays, 
April 2, 1924, ibid.; White to Hays, April 28, 1924, ibid. 

25. Press release, [1924], box YPC 14, file "YP Lodges and 
Camps," YNP; Vernon Goodwin to Hays, February 28, 1924, box 
3, file "1920-1924 correspondence," Howard H. Hays Collection, 
AHC; Hays to Child, March 25, 1924, ibid.; E. H. Moorman to 
Emery, April 24, 1924, ibid.; Emery to Moorman, April 25, 1924, 
ibid.; Taylor B. Weir to Vard Smith, April 28, 1924, ibid.; White to 
Hays, April 13, 1925, ibid.; "Minutes of Directors' Meeting of 
Yellowstone Park Camps Company," May 8, 1924, ibid. 

So, as of 1925, Harry Child finally secured what 
he had coveted for years, a practical monopoly 
of all Yellowstone concessions. But Hays, White, 
and Emery proved to be the true beneficiaries of the 
camping company episode. All three made a hand- 
some profit in the transaction. That same year Hays 
became president of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon 
National Parks Companies; in 1926, he added the 
Glacier National Park Transport Company to his 
portfolio. He retained these businesses for almost 
thirty years. White and Emery, close friends as well as 
business associates, likely benefitted financially from 
his acquisitions. Child had paid $660,000 for a busi- 
ness that he could have bought for $150,000 five years 
earlier, but had missed the opportunity due to chron- 
ic frugality. 26 

Child's record of accomplishments in Yellow- 
stone has remained unequaled. He almost single- 
handedly provided the means by which millions of 
visitors experienced the park. He built magnificent 
hotels, such as those at Lake, Canyon, and Old 
Faithful, edifices that many have considered among 
the grandest in the world. He brooked no opposition; 
no other operator approached his level of control. He 
built such a dynamic business that for decades he 
and his heirs practically dictated how the park would 
be run. At his death in 1931, Billie Nichols and a suc- 
cession of grandchildren took over, and the conces 
sions remained in the family until 1965. But in this 
one instance a competitor, Howard Hays, proved the 
winner — this one time, Harry got taken. 

26. Hays, "Occupation," AHC; Emery to Hays, March 29, 
1924, box 3, file "1920- 1924 correspondence," Howard H. Hays 
Collection, ibid.; Emery to Hays, April 25, 1924, ibid.; Hays to 
White and Emery, May 9, 1925, box 3, file "1925-1926 correspon- 
dence," ibid.; Child to Hays, July 6, 1925, ibid. Child took his 
beating with unusually good humor, probably because he truly 
liked Hays. Upon hearing of Hays' upcoming venture ini 
Sequoia, he wrote that "I note with pleasure that you are going to 
promote a sanitarium for knocked-out National Park officials. 
Please reserve rooms there for the writer, W. M. Nichols . . . also 
I presume you have already engaged accommodations for 
Director Mather and Superintendent Albright. This whole bunch 1 * 
of artists is on the way." 

net Hist! 
Black Americans in the 
Yellowstone National Park Area, 
1872-1907 15 

In the history of Yellowstone National Park and 
surrounding area, black Americans have not 
played a forefront role; in general not many per- 
sons of that race inhabited northwestern Wyoming 
land southern Montana during the period 1872 to 
1907. 1 But a thorough survey of the vast literature of 

1. For Montana area bibliographic information, see Lucille 
Smith Thompson, The Negro in Montana 1800-1945, A Selective 
Bibliography (Helena: Montana State Library, 1970). For context, 
see W. Sherman Savage, "The Negro in the History of the Pacific 
Northwest," Journal of Negro History 13 (July, 1928): 255-264; 
Quintard Taylor, "The Emergence of Black Communities in the 
Pacific Northwest, 1865-1910," Journal of Negro History 64 (Fall, 
1979): 342-351; Quintard Taylor, "From Esteban to Rodney King: 
Five Centuries of African American History in the West," 
Montana Magazine of Western History 46 (Winter, 1996): 2-23. Dr. 
Taylor, of the University of Oregon, has also finished a manu- 
script entitled "In Search of the Racial Frontier: African 
Americans in the American West, 1528-1970," from which he gra- 
ziously loaned me chapter five: "Migration and Settlement, 1875- 
1920." See also note six below. 

Yellowstone National Park turns up a number of 
instances of black persons residing in the Park and in 
nearby areas during that carriage-trade period. They 
were a very small contingent of African-Americans 
living and working in a rural, western area attracted 
perhaps by the novelty of Yellowstone National Park 
and its need for temporary employees during the 
summer season. 2 

We do not totally understand why blacks were 
largely absent from the upper Yellowstone country 
during this period (they certainly were present in 
many other areas of the American West), nor do we 
know why these individual blacks were in the 
Yellowstone area and whether or not their lives were 
changed by the experience; good firsthand accounts 

2. The author has been researching the history of the upper 
Yellowstone country for nearly twenty-five years. This article is 
taken from his years of notes. Thanks to Dr. Quintard Taylor who 
offered constructive suggestions. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal F 

of life on the upper Yellowstone River by black 
Americans simply have not yet surfaced. 

Why would African Americans venture to 
such a remote location? The most obvious 
answer is economic; there were temporary 
jobs in Yellowstone, into which blacks could be hired. 
A second reason might have been a desire to escape 
racism; indeed, the West has always "summoned" 
downtrodden persons from many different groups, 
persons who dreamed, however naively, that a new 
start somewhere else might be free of "backhome" 
discrimination. 3 

These questions remain unanswered, but the little 
information we have about blacks in the Yellowstone 
area is fascinating, even if it generates more questions 
than we can currently answer and even if most of the 
observations are secondhand ones from whites. With 
that in mind, perhaps the information provided here 
tells us more about the attitudes of whites of the peri- 
od than it does about the few blacks of which we 
know. For example, while area newspapers some- 
times defamed these black Americans, southern 
Montana editors at other times found racial violence 
a "hideous evil," indicating (apparently) only differ- 
ences in individual editors' outlooks. 4 

Certainly one of the earliest black visitors to the 
Yellowstone country was fur trapper James Beck- 
wourth, a mulatto whose dark skin fooled the Crow 
tribe in the 1830s into accepting him as one of their 
own. His "autobiography" and several biographies 
are well known. 5 

A look at census figures for the period 1880-1910 
reveals that very few black Americans resided then in 
the upper Yellowstone region. In 1880, Wyoming 
Territory had only 298 blacks, none in any areas close 
to the new Yellowstone Park. Montana Territory had 
346 blacks, and of those, only thirty-one lived in 

Gallatin County (the county which then abutted 
Yellowstone Park). In 1890, the numbers were 922 for 
Wyoming and 1,490 for Montana, of which 74 resided 
in Park and Gallatin Counties. By 1900, when 
Yellowstone National Park was first given its own 
place in the census, one black person was shown as 
living in the park, fifty in nearby Park and Gallatin 
Counties, and 1,523 in Montana at large. And in 1910, 
the park was shown as having four blacks living 
there with only seventy living in Park and Gallatin 
counties. 6 

Of these blacks living in Montana Territory, most 
had migrated there after the Civil War and most lived 
in the cities of Helena and Butte, towns which even 
had black newspapers. After 1900, Great Falls and 
Anaconda also had sizable black populations. But 
except for these four towns, there were few black per- 
sons in Montana. 7 

The United States, during this era, was a racist 
nation in a good measure, and the Yellowstone area 
was no exception. Reading the newspapers, books, 
and periodicals of the era, a researcher of today is 
often horrified at the anti-minority sentiment and 
actions which are matter-of-factly recorded in the 
press. For example, the Livingston Enterprise routine- 
ly used words like "nigger" and "chink" to refer to 
blacks and Chinese in its columns. 8 The purposeful 
"burning of Negroes" in southern states was a con- 
tinuing, hideous evil which was ongoing at that 
time. 9 And during those days long before the U.S! 
Supreme Court abolished prohibitions on interracial 
marriage in the case of Loving v. Virginia, comments 
on such occasional miscegenation were generally 
derogatory. For example, a newspaper published at 
Gardiner, Montana (the north entrance to Yellow- 
stone Park) noted in 1903 that a fifty-eight-year-old 
"negro janitor" had married a white woman in 

3. A classic example of this is found in the Mormon migra- 
tion. See LeRoy R. Hafen, Handcarts to Zion: The Story of a Unique 
Migration, 1856-1860 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1992). 

4. See note six below. 

5. T.D. Bonner, ed., The Life and Adventures of James P. 
Beckwourth (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1856); Gordon 
Speck, Breeds and Half-Breeds (New York: C.N. Potter, 1969); 
Elinor Wilson, Jim Beckwourth: Black Mountain Man and War Chief 
of the Crows (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1972); H.W. 
Felton, Jim Beckwourth, Negro Mountain Man (New York: Dodd, 

6. Compendium of the Tenth Census (1880), pt. I: 360, 379 
(Washington: GPO, 1883); Compendium of the Eleventh Census 
(1890), pt. I: 490, 515 (Washington: GPO, 1892); Twelfth Census of 
the U.S. . . . 1900, pt. I: 591, 608 (Washington: GPO, 1901); 
Thirteenth Census of the U.S. . . . 1910, vol. 1: 239, 246. 

7. Taylor, "Emergence of Black Communities," pp. 342-347. 

8. "Famous Landmark in Gardiner is Destroyed by Fire," 
Livingston Enterprise, December 4, 1912. For Chinese racism in the 
West, see Liping Zhu, '"A Chinaman's Chance' on the Rocky 
Mountain Mining Frontier," Montana Magazine of Western History 
45 (Autumn-Winter, 1995): 36-51, and his book in press. 

9. "A Growing Hideous Evil," Livingston Post, August 22, 

Members of a black infantry unit pose on the Minerva Terrace with their bicycles. (National Park Service, Yellowstone 
[National Park) 

Missoula. Said the editor, "While the woman was not 
prominent in society her standing seems to have been 
good and the marriage has [therefore] occasioned 
much comment." 10 

Another example of racism in Yellowstone area 
newspapers was published in February of 1900. An 
editor for Livingston's Park County Republican offered 
the news that a black theater group would soon per- 
form in that town at the Hefferlin Theater, presenting 
a musical production entitled "The Hottest Coon in 
Dixie." The production was performed by what was 
apparently an all-black cast from Denver, Colorado. 
The newspaper stated that "the show is superior... to 
the average 'coon' show... In the peculiar songs of 

10. Gardiner Wonderland, January 15, 1903, p. 2. Loving v. 
Virginia, the celebrated miscegenation case which declared 
Virginia's prohibition on interracial marriages to be a violation of 
aqual protection, was published at 388 U.S. 1 (1967). 

their race, these dusky vocalists seem simply match- 
less." Thus racism thrived even as the newspaper 
proclaimed what great talent the performers had and 
that the production was an excellent one. 11 

In the upper Yellowstone country, the few black 
people that sallied forth to make the area home seem 
to have been at least accepted in the region. The 
region was part of the larger "separate but equal" 
society that had been shamefully endorsed by the 
U.S. Supreme Court in the 1896 case of Plessy v. 
Ferguson. 12 Blacks seem to have enjoyed some accep- 
tance in southern Montana, possibly for their sheer 
novelty in an otherwise mostly-white area, but they 
no doubt encountered occasional discrimination. 

11. Park County Republican, February 10, 1900. 

12. 163 U.S. 537 (1896). 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal! 

Against this background, it is noteworthy and 
somewhat unusual that black Americans 
were employed at Yellowstone National Park 
from its earliest hotel days. The Northern Pacific 
Railroad made this possible; it provided a quick and 
easy way to reach Yellowstone National Park begin- 
ning in 1883. The railroad already employed black 
Americans aboard its trains; hence, why not employ 
them in the new hotels it was building in the National 
Park? At least initially, it was apparently not easy to 
acquire three-month employees to staff hotels in the 
remote mountains of Wyoming and Montana. 13 

The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone 
Park, which was partially erected in 1883 and which 
"opened" at the end of that year, seems to have hired 
"colored" waiters from its inception. Traveler A.M. 
Ingersoll reported them there in 1884, Emily 
Catherine Bates encountered them there in 1886, and 
J.E. Williams, editor of the Amherst (Massachusetts) 
Record, saw them in 1888. Williams' comment illus- 
trated the precept that persons like him, some of the 
country's supposed "best" people, were sometimes 
outright racists: "We arrive at the hotel, are assigned 
our rooms, and sit down to do ample justice to a good 
bill of fare, served by 'coons,' — excuse me, I should 
say colored waiters who are blacker than coons." 14 

Presumably black waiters or other black employ- 
ees were at Mammoth in 1889, but they were defi- 
nitely there during the summers of 1890-92, and 1896. 
Park tour guide G.L. Henderson saw them in 1890, 
called them quiet and courteous, and noted that they 
"would be a credit to the best hotels on the conti- 
nent." In 1891, geologist Thomas McKenny Hughes 
and his wife Caroline had a different view. They com- 
plained that dinner at Mammoth was served "with 

13. Dee Brown, Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow: Railroads in 
the West (New York and London: Touchstone), 1994, p. 178. For 
the Northern Pacific's Yellowstone branch, see Craig Reese, "The 
Gardiner Gateway to Yellowstone," The Mainstreeter (NPRR 
Historical Association) 15 (Spring, 1996): 5-21, 29-30. For general 
Yellowstone National Park history, see Aubrey L. Haines, The 
Yellowstone Story, two volumes (Boulder: University of Colorado 
Press, revised, 1996). 

14. J.E. Williams, Through the Yellowstone Park. Vacation Notes. 
Summer of 1888. Copied From the Amherst Record (Amherst, MA: 
no publisher [Amherst Record], no date [probably 1888]), p. 8; 
A.M. Ingersoll, "My Trip to the Yellowstone Park," in Gems of the 
Northwest (no place: Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railway, 
no date [probably 1885]), p. 75; E. Catherine Bates, A Year in the 
Great Republic (London: Ward and Downey), II, 1887, p. 194. 

long pauses between courses." "The black waiters," 
they noted, "expect us to wait not them." 15 Bicycle 
traveler R.O. Vandercook mentioned that the 
Mammoth Hotel in 1892 had a "colored bell boy" 
(perhaps he mistook one of the waiters "standing 
near" for a bell porter). And we know that the black 
employees of the hotel were there in 1896, per the 
diary of traveler Moses Ezekiel, who was informed of ; 
their presence while touring the Mammoth Hot 
Springs. 16 

It is not known when Yellowstone's Mammoth] 
Hotel ceased having a good number of black waiters, 
but a photograph and a newspaper article indicate^ 
they were in place in 1901. The Livingston Post fori 
May 30, 1901, stated that in just two days "colored" 
porters would arrive for the park hotels. A Frankl 
Haynes photo, number H-4847, depicts black waiters \ 
and porters at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in 1901 
Rube Shuffle's account, discussed below, indicates 
that black waiters were working at Mammoth hT 
1903. Probably African- Americans were a continuous 
presence at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel from 1884 
to 1903, and possibly for a much longer time. 

A black piano player was apparently employed at 
the Mammoth Hotel at least for the summer of 1901, 
and before the "Thomas Orchestra" arrived in 1902. 
Area old-timer Clarence Stearns recalled that in 1900, 
the Yellowstone Park Association employed a "nig- 
ger piano player alone." Stearns stated that the blackt 
piano man played ragtime music "upstairs when the 
coaches arrived." 17 

A piano man (possibly that one) and the blackl 
waiters at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel were appar- 
ently involved in 1901 in a ruckus which resulted in 
complaints to the Department of Interior. Park visitor 
James Stokes of New York City griped that when he 
arrived at the hotel on July 21, he was confronted 

15. G.L. Henderson, "Here's Henderson.", Helena Daily, 
Herald, September 24, 1890; Thomas Hughes, "Yellowstone Park! 
to Arizona. Exerpts from the Diary of Thomas McKenny Hughes 

. . . ", 1891, p. 7, typescript in YNP Research Library. 

16. R.O. Vandercook, "A Bicycle Oddyssey", unpublished 
typescript, Montana State University, 1944 [1892], p. 6; Mosesi 
Ezekiel, Diary, July 27-August 14, 1896, p. (7), YNP manuscript- 

17. Jack Haynes interview with Clarence G. Stearns, Sr., May 
7, 1953, in Jack Haynes collection 1504, box 101, file 41, Montana 
State University. 

Fall, 1997 


with a "great noise going on in the second story." He 
was told by his valet that if he wanted to see the "goo 
goo eye break-down," a dance by one of the black 
waiters, that he should return to the same place. "I 
investigated," grumbled Stokes, "and there he was 
singing and dancing, chaperoned by the head waiter. 
I never heard such a noise except in the Chinese quar- 
ter, and this on the Sabbath day!" 

Stokes stated he complained to the management 
and the noise was stopped. More than a year later (he 
appears to have been in no hurry to register his com- 
plaint) when a copy of his letter arrived in the park, 
superintendent John Pitcher issued the order that 
"there will be no more singing and dancing at the 
Mammoth Hotel, or any other place in the Park, such 
as that referred to within." We know for a fact that 
music continued at the various park hotels, so one 
must wonder whether or not this decree was aimed 
strictly at blacks. 18 

Like the Mammoth Hotel, Yellowstone's second 
Canyon Hotel had black waiters and porters in its 
employ. 1901 traveler Inez Russell Howell Smith ran 
into a black waiter there who played guitar and man- 
dolin and sang songs in addition to waiting tables. 
Moreover, two spectacular Haynes photos show 
these employees playing and singing at the 
Canyon. 19 Apparently not all African-American 
music caused complaints. 

IX'^^ne of the most interesting pieces of black his- 
I ltory in the Yellowstone country concerns a 
^^^ black house of ill repute, or perhaps more 
II than one, which operated, appropriately enough, at 
Horr, Montana. Horr was the small coal mining town 
just north of Yellowstone National Park which 
thrived from 1887 to 1910. It was renamed "Electric" 
in 1904, when, according to local legend and subject 
to no historical documentation thus far, the 

townswomen objected to living in "Horr" houses. 
Gardiner, Livingston, Helena, and many other small 
Montana towns had their white "red light districts," 
but in Horr there was a black brothel. 20 

It was mentioned in the Livingston Post for 
January 25, 1894. In a story which outlined the acquit- 
tal of "murderer" Charles Northrup, a reporter noted 
that a cabin near the Park Coal and Coke Company's 
wood camp "was occupied by a colored prostitute, 
named Bell Price, with whom defendant [Northrup] 
has been in communication." 21 

This black brothel seems either to have lasted for 
many years at Horr or else another one sprang up, for 
a Gardiner Wonderland newspaper article ten years 
later carried the following story: 

On Monday night the house of "Miss Lulu," of 
Horr, was broken into and robbed by two men of 
that place whose names we did not learn, but who 
secured quite a sum of money. "Miss Lulu" made 
complaint to Justice of the Peace Piser, and he had 
the men under his surveillance awaiting the 
arrival of Under Sheriff Beller, but in some unac- 
countable manner both men got away and up-to- 
date have not been caught. "Miss Lulu" is the pro- 
prietress of a colored house of ill fame, and it is 
said that she is not conducting the same on [a] 
quiet basis, and that considerable trouble eminates 
therefrom. 22 

Coincidentally or otherwise, there had been 
another "Lulu" in the same business in Livingston, 
for a newspaper article reported her death there in 
1898, with this derogatory notice: 

Lulu St. Clair, colored, one of the habitues of the 
red light district, died on Sunday morning of 
typhoid fever. Her funeral on Monday afternoon 
was well attended, the members of the Salvation 
Army and a number of friends of the deceased 

18. James Stokes to William C. Sangar, July 29, 1902, letter 
\ number 3161 in National Archives, Record Group 79, Patents and 
1 Miscellaneous Division, Box 70. Later dancing in park hotels is in 

Aubrey L. Haines, The Yellowstone Story (Boulder: University of 
| Colorado Press), II, 1977, p. 191, and in numerous park hotel 

19. Inez Russell Howell Smith, "Diary of Inez Russell 
j Howell Smith, June 24, 1901 - August 9, 1901, A Trip to 

Yellowstone Park," original and typescript (SC 1268) at Montana 
Historical Society, 1901, p. 7; Frank J. Haynes photos, H-4873, 
Canyon Hotel colored waiters and river; H-4874 Canyon Hotel 
colored waiters and river; Montana Historical Society. 

20. For Horr's history, see Bill and Doris Whithorn, Photo 
History From Aldridge (Livingston, MT: Livingston Enterprise), n.d. 
[1966], especially pp. 9, 33; and Lee H. Whittlesey, "They're 
Going to Build a Railroad!': Cinnabar and the Gardiner Addition 
to Yellowstone National Park," 1995, book manuscript currently 
in draft and peer review, YNP Library, pp. 15-17. 

2. "Northrup Acquitted!", Livingston Post, January 25, 1894. 
For Northrup's complete murder story see Lee H. Whittlesey, 
Death in Yellowstone .... (Niwot, Colorado: Roberts Rinehart), 
1995. An additional black Livingston resident was one "Wash" 
Kelley who complained loudly to the newspapers about the 
Northrup affair. "Local News", Livingston Post, February 1, 1894. 

22. "Our Local Field," Gardiner Wonderland, April 30, L904. 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

being in attendance. There are no lacking those 
who say that she was generous, honest and kind 
and had many qualities that made her wasted life 
more to be regretted. 23 

We do not know the history of either of these 
houses of prostitution, nor do we know how (or even 
whether) they figured significantly into the history of 
the Yellowstone region. Certainly at least part of their 
reason for being was strictly economic; those folks 
had to make a living. Moreover the attitude of news- 
papers of that day was different from today. While 
today's newspapers still give undue emphasis to 
what society considers the aberrant and spectacular, 
most do not overtly discriminate or parade their bias- 
es as they once did. 

One definite black American is known from the 
local newspapers to have resided at Livingston, 
Montana during this period. He was referred to as a 
"prospector" by the Livingston Enterprise which 
claimed that he drowned in the Yellowstone River 
there in 1896. Nearly simultaneously the Livingston 
Herald referred to what was probably the same man 
as "John Thomas, the well known colored man who 
was interested in mining claims [around] 
Livingston." The Herald stated that he drowned in 
the Big Horn River of Wyoming. 24 

A black resident of Gardiner, Montana (at 
Yellowstone Park's north entrance) between 1900 and 
1915 was "Black Boy Lastus," real name unknown. 
Perhaps he was one of the one to four blacks listed in 
the censuses of 1900 and 1910. Area historian Doris 
Whithorn found a photo of him and published it in 
one of her books, stating that he was "a swamper for 
two saloons." She also found a newspaper item 
which stated that he played mouth organ at Tom 
Somerville's Gardiner wedding in September of 
1906. 25 

Another mystery with regard to lost "black" 
history in Yellowstone National Park is the 
complete story behind Rube Shuffle's book 
Yellowstone Letters, although some of the story is 

23. Livingston Herald, February 17, 1898. 

24. "Local Layout," Livingston Enterprise, Sept. 5, 1896; "John 
Thomas Drowned," Livingston Herald, September 3, 1896. 

25. Whithorn, Photo History of Gardiner, Jardine, Crevasse 
(Livingston: Livingston Enterprise, [1966]), pp. (10), (19). 

known. This book, published in 1906 in New York 
and Washington by the Neale Publishing Company, 
lists "Rube Shuffle" as its author and A.G. Heaton as 
its illustrator. The book's Preface, written by Heaton, 
states that the series of letters, written in what 
appears to be black dialect, came to his attention 
through the "good-looking maid" of wealthy 
Chicago friends. When she heard their conversation 
turn to Yellowstone, the maid told her employers that 
her "attentive lover" had written a number of letters 
to her while traveling through Yellowstone National 
Park as a "valet" in the summer of 1903. Heaton stat- 
ed that he then met Shuffle when Shuffle "happened 
to call that evening upon his sweetheart in the 
kitchen," and Heaton therein got permission to pub- 
lish Shuffle's letters. Heaton stated that following his 
return from Yellowstone, "Rube left a position that 
had become uncongenial to resume his dress coat as 
a head waiter in a well-known hotel." 

We do not know for certain that Shuffle was 
black, but his name and the dialect of his letters, 
along with certain other references such as "maid," 
"head waiter," and "uncongenial" make it very like- 
ly. Moreover, at three different places in the book, 
Shuffle alludes to "white girls" who were waiting 
tables at Fountain Hotel, Old Faithful, and West 
Thumb. Finally, a woodcut drawing (see opposite 
page) shows what is probably Rube Shuffle at 
Lookout Point looking like Steppin Fetchit. 

Shuffle's letters provide a detailed look at touring 
in Yellowstone Park in 1903, and mention that the 
waiters at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel that summer 
were black. In fact, Shuffle, if he was black, showed as 
much racism toward them as many white writers of 
the day. 

He takes up the story for us at Mammoth Hotel at 
dinner, indicating that the black waiters practiced 
discrimination against him, and thus giving us still 
another reason to believe that he was black: 

By an by I'm let in to a fur table an sees as there's 
coon waiters. When my nigger fetched in a stack o' 
dishes I didn't order an forgot what I did an lay'd 
for a quarter wid a saucer o'toothpicks, I some 
how seed my former callin wery different. So I 
tries a bluff as onct seems wery contemptuous, an 
I says, "Sam, I pays a high hotel bill coverin every- 
thing. You gets a salary fur your waitin, an you 
dont half know how to wait. You brings a lot of 
dishes, scarce eny of what I wanted, an then wants 

Fall, 1997 

a quarter or a half at each feed. Its a imposishun." 
Then I walks away as severe as some gents what's 
giv me this to chew. Sam didn't say nothing at all, 
but that evenin at supper him an all them other 
coons was that deff an near sighted as I had to get 
the head waiter to show em I was in the dinin 
room, and then, ater half a hour more, the grub I 
got was cold leavins. When I thinks that I wus 
sometimes practicin the shameful ways ov them 
niggers, I feels mighty mean and mortified. 
Howsomever, bein hungry this mornin an onable, 
ater that bluff, to say as I'd bin sort ov in the same 
lodge, I jus shells out a half dollar, swell as a 
drummer, an coons wus around my table as thick 
as blue bottle flies. 26 

I interpret this passage as telling the following 
story. Shuffle was seated at a "far" (remote) dining 
table at lunch (because he was black?) and noticed 
that the Mammoth Hotel waiters were black. His 
waiter brought in a stack of dishes Shuffle had not 
asked for and a saucer of toothpicks for which he 
tasked Shuffle to pay a quarter. This angered Shuffle 
j who at that point saw all the Mammoth waiters, of 
J whose profession he had formerly been a member, as 
rude and greedy. He asked the waiter why he 
! (Shuffle) was being asked to pay at each round 
I instead of once for everything at the end of the meal. 
That evening the waiters acted as if they could not 
! see Shuffle, who complained to the head waiter of no 
j. service and was finally served cold, leftover food. 
I Shuffle felt badly that he had sometimes pulled the 
i same stunts on others. At breakfast the next morning, 
he elected to flash his money and thus got immediate 
service from the black waiters. 

That passage in Shuffle's book is a fascinating 
i look at racism in 1903 as exhibited in Yellowstone 
; National Park. The rest of the book gives Shuffle's 
detailed impressions of the Yellowstone Park tour as 
written lovingly to his back home girlfriend Sophie. 
The book is noteworthy for its minutiae regarding the 
! elements of an unhurried, week-long 1903 tour of 
Yellowstone Park; Shuffle admitted to taking con- 
I stant notes and asking many questions so that he 
could record detailed information on park geysers, 
j road scenes, regulations, hotels, and stagecoaches. 
I And regardless of what race its writer was, Rube 

26. Rube Shuffle and A.G. Heaton, Yellowstone Letters by Rube 
Shuffle Written From the National Park to His Sweetheart (New York 
and Washington: Neale Publishing Company), 1906, pp. 23-24. 


A.G. Heaton illustration shozving "Shuffle" on Point 
Lookout. (From Yellowstone Letters by Rube Shuffle, 
published in 1906 by The Neale Publishing Company) 

Shuffle's book provided the following very human 
comment to the woman back home about his trepi- 
dation at visiting the wilderness of Yellowstone, with 
its mountains, boiling hot springs, and wild animals: 

"So I tells you ... if by chances I takes a header 
down some mounting or gets biled in eny hot 
water hole or drounded in eny onruly river or 
chawed up by eny bar or udder savige critter in 
them wild places I am a goin into, that I loves you 
steady and true." 27 

Another story of black Americans in 
Yellowstone Park may be found in docu- 
ments in the Yellowstone archives which deal 
with the boat operations of E.C. Waters. Ella C. 
Waters ran the boat called the Zillah, which plied the 

27. Shuffle, Yellowstone Letters 1906, p. 37. 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

waters of Yellowstone Lake from about 1891 to 1907. 
Waters became known to park officials for his over- 
charging of park tourists, his poor treatment of ani- 
mals he kept on Dot Island, and his generally rude, 
overbearing, and erratic ways of dealing with every- 
one he encountered. A file of letters in the 
Yellowstone archives shows that Waters tried to get 
out of paying W.H. McKaulass (or McKandlass) and 
"five other colored people" for work they had done 
for him in 1907. The six were principally singers and 
players (called "colored minstrels") whom he had 
hired for the entertainment of his visitors. But by that 
year, park officials were fed up with complaints 
about Waters, and this incident was simply one more 
to add to the file. Waters was ejected from the park. 28 

These few stories are all that are known which 
deal with black Americans in the upper 
Yellowstone country before 1910. No doubt 
history has others which are yet undiscovered. How 
these African Americans fared in the Yellowstone 
country without a distinct black community to sup- 
port them is an unanswered question, as we have no 
first-person accounts other than that of Rube Shuffle. 
Those black communities, which existed in places 
such as Helena and Butte, Montana, and Cheyenne, 
Wyoming, certainly made life easier for the black 

28. Item 33, file 3, file marked "case dropped," YNP 
Archives. See also Archive Document 3072 for the complaint in 
October of 1896 of D.S. Terry of Fridley, Montana, that two of 
Waters' hirees, a white man and "a Negro," stole ranch equip- 
ment from him. 

Americans they housed, but the small groups of 
blacks who lived in the Yellowstone country 1880- 
1910 appear to have survived adequately, at least for 
short periods, without such support. 29 

One might wonder how the numbers of black 
Americans living and working in the Yellowstone 
region during the period 1880-1910 compares with 
numbers in other national parks. A check with 
Yosemite National Park's historian revealed that 
while Yosemite (in southern California) had 
Hispanics and Indians working there, blacks were 
few. Historian Jim Snyder knew of at least one black 
cavalry unit which protected Yosemite sometime 
1899-1904 and of one black stagecoach driver, George 
Monroe, who worked there during the 1870s. Snyder 
stated that commercial brochures at Yosemite's Camp 
Curry in or about 1910 went so far as to state that all 
employees there were white. 30 

This article is merely a preliminary study in an 
area that is fascinating and essentially unexplored. 
Further research on the topic of black Americans is 
needed for both Montana and Wyoming, as is a com- 
parison with other rural areas in the American West. 

29. Personal communication from Dr. Quintard Taylor, 
University of Oregon, to Lee Whittlesey, May 14, 1997. Todd 
Guenther of the Pioneer Museum at Lander, Wyoming has 
recently been researching blacks in Wyoming. While his larger- 
scale work is unpublished, he has produced "Y'all Call Me 
Nigger Jim Now, But Someday You'll Call Me Mr. James 
Edwards: Black Success on the Plains of the Equality State," 
Annals of Wyoming 61:2(Fall, 1989):21-24. 

30. Author's conversation with Jim Snyder, Park Historian, 
Yosemite National Park, June 10, 1997. 


'n October, 1953, Harper's Magazine ran an editor- 
ial by Bernard DeVoto, entitled "Let's Close the 

.National Parks." DeVoto, a long-time park enthu- 
siast and conservationist, described his previous 
summer's experience on a tour of 15 parks, conclud- 
ing that even though Congressional parsimony was 
starving them out, the National Park Service's staff 
were performing heroically in trying to keep the 
parks running, and that their "success at improvising 
and patching up is just short of miraculous. But it 
stops there, just short of the necessary miracle. 
Congress did not provide money to rehabilitate the 
parks at the end of the war, it has not provided 
money to meet the enormously increased demand. So 
much of the priceless heritage which the Service must 
safeguard for the United States is beginning to go to 
hell." 1 

Running through a long list of reduced staffs and 
funding, DeVoto came to Yellowstone: "In 1932, 
when 200,000 people visited it, its uniformed staff 
was large enough to perform just over 6,000 man- 
hours of work per week: last year, with one and one- 

third million visitors, the shrunken staff performed 
just over 4,000 man-hours per week." 2 

Complaining about parks with "true slum dis- 
tricts" and "hot dog stand budgets," DeVoto con- 
cluded that only a massive infusion of Congressional 
funding would save the parks. 3 But, he predicted, 
"no such sums will be appropriated. Therefore only 
one course seems possible. The national park system 
must be temporarily reduced to a size for which 
Congress is willing to pay. Let us, as a beginning, 
close Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, and 
Grand Canyon National Parks — close and seal them, 
assign the Army to patrol them, and so hold them 
secure till they can be reopened." 4 

More parks could be closed, DeVoto proposed, if 
these were not enough. The result he hoped for, of 
course, was that "letters from constituents unable to 
visit Old Faithful, Half Dome, The Great White 
Throne, and Bright Angel Trail would bring a nation- 
ally disgraceful situation to the really serious atten- 
tion of the Congress which is responsible for it." 5 

1. Bernard DeVoto, "The Easy Chair, Let's Close the National 
Parks," Harper's Magazine, October, 1953, p. 51. 

2. Ibid., p. 52. 

3. Ibid. 

4. Ibid. 

5. Ibid. 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

In Yellowstone's case, this all sounds more than 
vaguely familiar. Seventy years earlier, other conser- 
vation crusaders had tried successfully to ignite a 
public campaign on behalf of a gravely threatened 
Yellowstone. 6 In some ways, in fact, the parallels 
between the early 1880s and the early 1950s are 
spooky, right down to the deja-vu of bringing in the 
army, which was done in 1886. 

But in 1953, Yellowstone needed saving from 
something quite different than it had in its early days, 
when the cries to save the park were aimed at the ears 
of a largely uninterested 

and almost totally unin- — — ■— ■ 

formed public. In the 
1880s, Yellowstone's 

defenders saw it needing 
saving from railroad devel- 
opers and other wishing to 
dismantle, reduce, or 
invade the place with a 
level of commercialism 
that few conservationists 

considered necessary. mmammmmmmmmmmm^mmmm 

Now, those same cries to 

save the parks, including Yellowstone, were reaching 
a public that had itself become the thing from which 
the park most needed saving. Public affection for the 
parks, in such short supply in the 1880s, was over- 
whelming the parks by the 1950s. 

DeVoto's voice was just one in a chorus, with 
even agency bureaucrats speaking quite openly 
despite DeVoto's sympathetic assertion that the typi- 
cal park superintendent "is withheld from saying 
what would count, 'Build a fire under your 
Congressmen.'" 7 In 1955, National Park Service 
Director Conrad Wirth helped build such a fire when 
he was quoted in Reader's Digest: 

It is not possible to provide essential services. 
Visitor concentration points can't be kept in sani- 
tary condition. Comfort stations can't be kept 
clean and serviced. Water, sewer and electrical sys- 
tems are taxed to the utmost. Protective services to 
safeguard the public and preserve park values are 
far short of requirements. Physical facilities are 
deteriorating or inadequate to meet public needs. 

"Public affection for the 
parks, in such short supply 
in the 1880s, was over- 
whelming the parks by the 

Some of the camps are approaching rural slums. 
We actually get scared when we think of the bad 
health conditions. 8 

At the time that DeVoto wrote, Yellowstone's 
managers had been adjusting their policies in 
response to increasing numbers of visitors at least 
since the prohibition of public hunting in 1883, when 
it became clear that the park's resources simply 
couldn't be consumed in that way if they were to 
endure and be enjoyed the future. The individual vis- 
itor's use of Yellowstone's 
■■■■"■■■■«»■■■■■»■■■■■ features had become grad- 
ually less consumptive 
ever since. Fishing bag 
limits were repeatedly 
reduced (and would even- 
tually vanish entirely in 
some drainages with na- 
tive fish species in need of 
special protection). Hot 
spring and geyser forma- 
tions were made unavail- 
able for hatcheting off sou- 
bath-house and greenhouse 

venirs, climbing, or 
plumbing. Flower-picking and specimen-collecting 
(rocks, antlers, driftwood, and so on) were outlawed 
except under a permit to do bona fide research. 
Camping and fires were ever more tightly regulated 
and contained. In these and many other ways a more 
gentle approach to the park experience was encour- 
aged. There seems to have been very little serious 
objection to most of those restrictions. But DeVoto 
was right; the visitation explosion after the war 
abruptly outran managers' ability to adjust. It was no 
longer possible to fine-tune regulations to take up the 
slack, and in reality it probably hadn't been for quite 
a while. 


t is one of modern environmental journalism's 
favorite chestnuts that the national parks have 
.always been managed to favor increasing devel- 
opment. It is, however, a flawed accusation when 
made against earlier generations, who are indicted 
retroactively for not having a full, late-Twentieth 

6. Paul Schullery, Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and 
Wonder in the Last Wilderness (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997). 

7. DeVoto, "Let's Close the National Parks," p. 49. 

8. Conrad L. Wirth, Parks, Politics, and the People (Norman, 
Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980), p. 237. 

Fall, 1997 


Built in 1891, the Fountain Hotel was razed in 1927. (National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park) 

Century ecologist's appreciation of the complexities 
of human impacts on modern ecosystems, and who 
were unencumbered by the host of environmental 
legislation that requires modern managers to care 
about the health of the park's resources to a previ- 
ously unimagined extent. 

Roads, bridges, and a system of comfortable 
accommodations were universally regarded as one of 
the great triumphs of early Yellowstone, and are still 
heartily admired and insisted upon by most modern 
visitors. The development of the great resort hotels of 
Yellowstone exemplifies precisely what the park's 
early supporters had in mind for the Yellowstone 
experience. 9 

The first of these grand structures was the 
National Hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs, more than 
400 feet long and in some places four stories high, 

9. The development of the hotels, and their ascendancy dur- 
ing the great resort era in Yellowstone is described in entertain- 
ing detail both Haines, The Yellowstone Story, II, and Bartlett, 
Yellowstone, A Wilderness Besieged. 

built in 1883 by the ill-fated Yellowstone Park 
Improvement Company. While other smaller hotels, 
lodges, and chalets would come and go over the 
years at numerous locations — Mammoth, Tower 
Junction, Norris, Canyon, Old Faithful, Sylvan Pass 
— the park became known for the biggest buildings: 
the National Hotel, the Fountain Hotel (1891), the 
Lake Hotel (1891), the Old Faithful Inn (1904), and 
the Canyon Hotel (1910). All of these were either 
extensively modified or replaced over time, but they 
each developed constituencies of their own, visitors 
who would return again and again to a favored spot, 
and who complained bitterly about the modification, 
much less the removal, of their beloved hotel. As 
recently as the 1970s, some park visitors still talked 
about the demolition of the structurally compro- 
mised Canyon Hotel in 1959 as if it was an assassina- 
tion rather than a condemnation. Such huge build- 
ings may seem jarring to the modern eye (Richard 
Bartlett, one of Yellowstone concessions' most thor- 
ough and thoughtful historians, has described the 
Lake Hotel as "beautiful but architecturally mis- 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

placed" 10 ), but their devotees are as avid as those 
who focus their passion on the geysers or the 

The most famous Yellowstone hotel, of course, is 
the Old Faithful Inn. Architect Robert Reamer 's orig- 
inal log structure was augmented by additional (and 
rather less attractive) wings in 1913 and 1928, and 
soon became a Yellowstone landmark almost on a par 
with Old Faithful itself. The cavernous lobby, the 
massive fireplace, and the rustic interior balconies 
and stairs still awe visitors today, and for most of us, 
even those with doubts about the appropriateness of 
the Old Faithful development, it is hard to imagine 
the Upper Geyser Basin without that gigantic gabled 

Many of the smaller vintage structures, especially 
the stores and the older National Park Service muse- 
ums, present the same homey yet primitive aspect — 
a beautifully cultivated, freely idealized image of 
human habitation in a wild place. Together with the 
hotels, this system of structures offered earlier visi- 
tors what most apparently considered just the right 
combination of comfort and exoticism to prepare 
them for their daily forays, by road and trail, into the 
Yellowstone "wilderness." But by the time of 
DeVoto's essay, perhaps earlier in some cases, they 
had done their job too well. They were wearing out 
just as their charms were getting better known by the 
year. It is a very short slide from rustic to tacky. 

Against this background, we should reconsider 
the earlier-mentioned chestnut that the parks are 
increasingly developed. In the 1920s and 1930s, 
under the inspired leadership of Directors Stephen 
Mather and Horace Albright, the parks were popu- 
larized and entered the mainstream of American 
recreation. Mather and Albright believed that the 
only way to justify larger funding appropriations for 
the young National Park Service was to court a larg- 
er constituency and show larger visitation totals. 
They were very successful and made the parks many 
new friends. The 52,000 visitors of 1915 (an excep- 
tionally high year)had risen to 80,000 by 1920, 154,000 
in 1925, and 227,000 in 1930. In 1940, visitation broke 
half a million, and except during World War II it has 

climbed ever since: a million in 1949 (not to mention 
two million in 1965, and three million in 1992). 11 The 
park had not grown larger, but still they came, more 
and more every year. Where once dozens might 
watch Old Faithful at once, now hundreds, even 
thousands, gathered on the boardwalk around the 

But, thanks in part to the sentiments of DeVoto 
and others concerned about overcrowding, a gradual 
reversal of Mather's promotional policies took hold 
firmly in the National Park Service. Nobody knew 
better than park managers themselves the truth of 
DeVoto's claims about the collapse of the parks, and 
by the 1970s, much of the old National Park Service 
promotional rhetoric was gone and what remained 
(such as the "parks are for the people" and 
"Yellowstone: A World Apart," slogans that were a 
part of the jargon of both the National Park Service 
and the concessioners) was increasingly unconvinc- 
ing to park service staff who dealt with the public. 
National Park Service staff have put progressively 
less time into encouraging more visitation to 
Yellowstone in the past 20 years, and have spent a 
great deal of time trying to find polite ways to explain 
to the public what a crisis overcrowding has become. 
Yellowstone is still ardently promoted today, but the 
promotion is carried out by park concessioners and 
the regional travel industry. 

Promotion, however, is not the same as develop- ' 
ment. The idea that Yellowstone is overrun 
with development, more all the time, seems 
firmly embedded in the folklore of conservationists, 
who will be surprised to hear that development of 
the Yellowstone landscape, in terms of acreage of 
land under human use, peaked before 1920 and has 
been declining ever since. A quick run around the 
Grand Loop Road reveals some of these reductions in 
developed acreage in the park. This is not to suggest 
that all of the following developments were in place 

11. Visitation statistics are from Yellowstone National Park 
records, annually updated by the public affairs office. 

10. Bartlett, Yellowstone, A Wilderness Besieged, opposite p. 


Fall, 1997 

at any one time; only that there were always more of 
them in the early 1900s than there are now. 12 

Starting at park headquarters and travelling 
clockwise around the park's "grand loop" road, the 
Mammoth Lodge and associated developments (cab- 
ins, swimming pool, service roads, and so on) that 
sprawled just opposite the hot springs is gone and 
most of the ground has been at least partly reclaimed. 
The Lava Creek Campground is gone. The Wylie 
Permanent Camp at Tower Junction is gone. The 
Wylie and the Shaw and Powell Camps at Canyon 
are gone, and the huge Canyon Hotel and the small- 
er hotel and store at the Upper Falls, along with 
almost all of their related facilities, have been 
replaced by one (albeit less attractive) "Canyon 
Village." The marina at Fishing Bridge is gone. The 
Wylie Camp at Lake is gone. The Shaw and Powell 
Camp at Bridge Bay is gone. At Old Faithful, the 
Wylie and the Shaw and Powell Camps are gone, as 
is the National Park Service campground. Just north 
of the Lower Geyser Basin, the Fountain Hotel 
(capacity 350) is gone. The Norris Hotel and Lunch 
Station are gone. So are the Shaw and Powell Camp 
at Willow Park and the Wylie Camp at Swan Lake. 
Just the removal of the many permanent camps run 
by Wylie or Shaw and Powell, with their hundreds of 
| tent-cabins and support facilities, is a remarkable 
gain in ground; at most of these sites, only archeolo- 
j gists and a few knowledgeable locals even notice evi- 
! dence of what was once a big, active village. 

On the other hand, there have been losses of 
unoccupied landscape too, the most notorious being 
the Grant Village development, with its accommoda- 
tions, campground, marina, and associated facilities, 

12. The establishment of the various structures and facilities 
described in this essay has been well documented in Haines, The 
Yellowstone Story, II. Park Historian Lee Whittlesey, in an undat- 
ed note to the author in August, 1996, said that the peak of build- 
ing in the park occurred at the very beginning of the century. As 
one of the foremost historians of development and construction 
in the park, he speaks with authority when he says "I feel very 
safe in saying that there are far fewer buildings in Yellowstone 
today than anytime since at least 1915 and probably since 1905. 
The number today may be as little as half as many as in the past. 
While many older buildings were razed in the 1920s and 1930s, 
many new ones went up during those decades as well. It staggers 
me to imagine the numbers of buildings that were here in, say, 
1930." For more on the modern dilemma of balancing cultural 
and natural resource management needs in national parks and 
other protected areas, see a special issue of the George Wright 
Forum, 1996, 13(1). 


so roundly vilified by environmental groups. But in 
all there has been a substantial net gain in the park in 
the past 60 years, in acreage covered by major devel- 
opments; most of the "new buildings" that make 
headlines in the regional papers are actually on sites 
where old buildings used to be. 

But the overall reduction in the acreage of major 
developments may not be where the most significant 
gains have been made. Scattered here and there, both 
out of sight of the public and right along the park's 
roads, large and small maintenance camps, woodcut- 
ter's cabins, lunch stands, dairy operations, horse 
pastures, random junk piles left near construction 
sites, slaughterhouses, dumpsites (both for garbage 
from hotels and camps, and for other kinds of refuse), 
sawmills, and other intrusions almost beyond count- 
ing proliferated in the park in its first 50 years. In the 
weeks following the end of the 1988 fire season, it 
seemed that anywhere one left the road and walked 
back 50 yards, it was easy to find freshly exposed and 
badly charred refuse heaps — artifacts of the sage- 
brusher era, when anyone could pull their wagon off 
into the woods, string a clothes line between two 
trees, and set up housekeeping for a week or so. 

But even the removal of all of these developments 
may not have opened up as much acreage as did 
changes in the roads themselves. In the 1930s, there 
were often two or even three different routes by 
which one could reach one major development from 
another. The alternative roads and "cutoffs" do not 
usually show up on the tourist brochures of that time, 
but they were there, and they were open to the pub- 
lic. Known locally as "Model-T roads," because the 
old cars were better able to handle their rutted, high- 
centered grades, they were older sections of park 
highway that had been replaced by better engineered 
routes, but they were still open to anyone willing to 
try them (and equally willing to get themselves out if 
they got stuck). 13 Today's three million visitors have 
significantly less road mileage available to them than 
did the 317,000 visitors of 1935. So do park managers, 
who used to maintain more administrative roads 
than they do now. 

13. Yellowstone Park Research Library, "Transcript of 
Aubrey L. Haines' Forty-Hour Tour of Yellowstone National 
Park, August 9-13, 1993." Computer file and transcript in the 
Yellowstone Park Research Library manuscript files. 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Yellowstone Park Transportation Company garage at Mammoth. It was destroyed by fire in 1925. (National Park Service, 
Yellowstone Station Park) 

This historical context is important in modern 
dialogues over the park's future management, 
but it does not by any means suggest that 
today's park somehow has the "right" amount of 
development. Some people believe the park to be 
overdeveloped, others wish it had even more devel- 
opment, but it appears that the extent of current 
development — the acreage occupied by human 
structures and therefore more or less divorced from 
the ecological setting — may not be the real problem. 
It appears that the resources of the park, especially 
those most thought of as most vulnerable to competi- 
tion for space, such as the grizzly bear, can handle Ihe 
current level of disturbed landscape. What they are 
less able to handle is the number of people who, 
using those developments as bases of operation, 
spread out through the rest of the park in spatial and 
temporal patterns that cause all manner of complica- 
tions. It appears, in fact, that the people raising 
alarms about overcrowding in the 1950s, were more 
than right; they were only faintly aware of what the 
crowding could do. 

In 1955, the National Park Service launched ai 
broad, ambitious program called Mission 66, to 
upgrade facilities, improve the roads and trails, and 
in other ways solve the problems of overcrowding by 
the year 1966. In Yellowstone, the agency aimed to 
achieve not only these goals but also "effective pre- 
sentation, interpretation, and protection of the 
resources in Yellowstone by a management staff." 14 
Mission 66 has left a complex legacy in Yellowstone. 
It did, indeed, upgrade many roads, bridges, and 
facilities, and no doubt visitors were better served, 
but the program is now routinely criticized for sim- 
ply accommodating more traffic rather than trying to 
control or limit it. Thus, the biggest monuments of 
Mission 66, Canyon Village and Grant Village, are 
unpopular with environmentalists, but most visitors 
using these facilities seem more than satisfied with 
services they provide. 

Canyon Village suggests the breadth of manage- 
ment challenges of development in Yellowstone, and 

14. Haines, The Yellowstone Story, II, p. 373. 

Fall, 1997 


how often those challenges have nothing to do with 
ecology. "Canyon" consists of a large, rectangular 
parking lot surrounded on three sides by stores, din- 
ing facilities, and a National Park Service visitor cen- 
ter. A campground stretches out to the north and 
northeast of this rectangle, and cabins and larger 
accommodation structures likewise spread out to the 
east and south. The entire affair sits well back from 
the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, cor- 
recting one objection to earlier facilities, that they 
were too close. 

But by the 1980s, Canyon Village was already out 
of fashion among many who toil in the troubled 
fields of national park aesthetics: it was regarded as 
too suburban in style, and therefore architecturally 
inappropriate in a national park. But the same 
changes in taste that caused Canyon Village to fall 
out of fashion also led to an ironic twist in its fate. By 
the 1990s, there was already talk among cultural 
resource specialists in the National Park Service 
Regional Office in Denver of recognizing that 
Canyon Village, like the Old Faithful Inn before it, 
should be preserved because it was now representa- 
tive of a certain era in Yellowstone's history. Almost 
as quickly as Canyon Village became regarded as 
something of an eyesore in a national park, it also 
became a kind of cultural milestone. Mission 66 
became History very fast. 

Mission 66 developments thus reveal a diffi- 
cult and comparatively new element of the 
mission of National Park Service. The 
agency is required by law to protect natural and cul- 
! tural resources; these responsibilities are defined in a 
raft of legislation and policy. The effect of these 
responsibilities, in the long haul, is a tendency to pro- 
mote the steady accumulation of more and more cul- 
tural sites that must be protected. 

This should be no surprise, because Yellowstone's 
mission has been broadening since the 1880s, when it 
ceased to be just a huge storage facility for geysers 
|| and hot springs and also became a wildlife reserve. 
The things now recognized as needing protection in 
Yellowstone, but not envisioned as part of the park's 
mission by its founders, include ecological processes, 
biological diversity, several endangered species, the 
old-west tourist experience, the institution of the 
ranger, and hundreds of archeological sites and his- 
toric structures. The National Park Service is now 

charged with far broader responsibilities than the 
founders of Yellowstone ever would have imagined. 
As the system of unique nationally significant sites 
managed by the agency grew, there accumulated 
many priceless cultural sites, from the Betsy Ross 
House to the Anasazi ruins at Hovenweep. This is a 
system of sites that will continue to grow, in response 
to our continuing actions as a nation and our chang- 
ing perceptions of ourselves. It is also a source of 
national pride; what began as an effort to save one 
extraordinary place has become an effort to celebrate 
a multiregional, multicultural nation's heritage. 

But this enriching of the mission of the national 
parks has interesting and perplexing side effects. As 
places like Yellowstone continue to memorialize 
structures no longer common elsewhere — from 
winding, low-speed "auto trails" to romanticized 
rustic architecture — they add yet another signifi- 
cant, costly, and complicated element to their mis- 
sions: they become in effect museums for really big 
objects. This new emphasis promises to occupy a 
growing percentage of the time and budgets of man- 
agers, and can lead to fascinating complications. For 
example, for many fire ecologists, the fires of 1988 
were a spectacularly important event in the park's 
complex biological biography, a wholesome jolt 
given by nature to the ecosystem. But for archeolo- 
gists, the fires were a threat not only to hundreds of 
historic structures, but also to very important archeo- 
logical sites whose surface features were easily dam- 
aged by them. Nature and culture now share the 
stage in Yellowstone, and there is potential for dis- 
agreement over which should have the leading role. 

Further complicating culture's share of the stage 
is that in many parks including Yellowstone, two 
often quite distinct cultural stories have emerged. 
One is the story of whatever human culture occupied 
the park area prior to its creation, whether Native 
American or Euro-american. The other is the park's 
own administrative history, whether the record is 
revealed in actual buildings — early bridge, hotel, 
ranger station, or other — or in the ideas, philoso- 
phies, and folklore of previous generation of park 
employees. One of the most intriguing parts of the 
aging process all parks undergo is the way the cul- 
ture of their caretakers becomes embedded in the 
landscape, through the naming of lakes after chief 
rangers, the formalization of trail systems and memo- 
rialization of their designers, the occupation of 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

ground by beloved old hotels, and other actions. 
Many parks are now old enough that there is good 
reason to interpret the history of their management 
as well as the original reasons for their creation. As 
parks grow older and their administrative history 
lengthens, it can gradually occupy a greater propor- 
tion of the park's image as presented to the public by 
interpretive programs. This should not automatically 
be regarded as wrong — indeed, it often is essential — 
but as the decades roll by, managers will have to be 
alert to somehow keeping the proportions right. 

A popular arguing point among historic preser- 
vationists in recent years has been that Yellowstone 
National Park really is just a very large cultural site; 
proponents of this view usu- 
ally pronounce it with ^ hhbh^ m^smmmmsammmsm 
smugness, even defiance, as 
if they would like nothing 
better than to fight about it. 
According to this argument, 
because we humans decided 
that Yellowstone was valu- 
able to our culture, we 
would set it aside; we would 
establish human boundaries 
on it, and we would manage 
it for our benefit and enjoy- 
ment. There is a sound prin- 
ciple here, that park land- i i mi n i i 

scapes are always human 

landscapes. Only recently, for example, have ecolo- 
gists and park managers known enough to recognize 
the extent to which North American landscapes were 
affected by humans prior to 1492. But this argument 
represents a crossroads in the evolving role of 
Yellowstone in American society. While many hold 
that even the architectural and engineering legacy of 
the National Park Service itself must be preserved 
and protected in the parks, others worry that we risk 
making too much of Yellowstone into a stockpiling 
site for grand old buildings, bridges, and other 
human constructions that were only created in the 
first place to enable our benefit and enjoyment of 
other resources here. The buildings in Yellowstone 
are both interesting and historic, but they were a side 
effect of the park's initial purpose and have now 
become a purpose themselves. One of the great chal- 
lenges facing future managers will be coming to 
terms with this new purpose. 


"A popular arguing 
point among historic 
preservationists in 
recent years has been 
that Yellowstone National 
Park really is just a very 
large cultural site 

hough this challenge may not be of great intel- 
lectual interest to the average Yellowstone vis- 
itor, those very visitors have long held diverg- 
ing views on what to do about it. The extent to which 
Yellowstone should be developed is not merely a 
matter of argument among people with professional 
stakes in the matter, such as ecologists, historic 
preservationists, park managers, or the travel indus- 
try. In the spring and summer of 1968, only 15 years 
after DeVoto's polemic against cheap treatment of the 
parks was published, journalist Robert Cahn pub- 
lished a 15-part series of articles in the Christian 
Science Monitor, entitled "Will Success Spoil The 
National Parks?" 15 A probing study based on Cahn's 
20,000-mile tour of the 
parks, it showed great sym- 
pathy for park resources, 
the people who manage and 
use them, and the many 
concerned people who 
depend upon them for a liv- 
ing. It also earned Cahn a 
Pulitzer Prize and still is 
instructive reading today. 

Written at the close of 
the Mission 66 era, when 
visitor services were much 
improved, it devoted less 

■■■■■■■I ■ ■ ■ i attention to facilities and 

more to the bigger problem 
of the crowds. It contained what may have been the 
first idealized fictional portrayal of how the parks 
might be better run in the future, imagining a 1984 
visit to Yellowstone. Cahn's visitors, the Norton fam- 
ily from New Jersey, began their trip with a visit to a 
regional visitor center in Philadelphia, where they 
learned about making advance reservations at camp- 
grounds or motels. You can almost hear the romance 
in his voice as he wrote that they could do this "by 
computer" and could also rent "home-play television 
tapes describing several parks". 16 As they 
approached the park, they tuned in to a "special 

15. Robert Cahn, Will Success Spoil the National Parks? 
(Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Company, 1968), a 
combined reprint of the 15-part series of articles that originally 
appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, May 1 to August 7, 
1968, 56 pp. 

16. Ibid., pp. 43-44. 

Fall, 1997 

wave length" on their car radio, to hear a voice de- 
scribing their surroundings and what the park held 
in store for them. 17 Having chosen not to make reser- 
vations in the park, they could not take their car in, so 
they rode in an "electric-powered minibus," walking 
"the final quarter mile to Old Faithful Geyser because 
all roads and parking areas were moved away from 
the fringes of the geyser back in 1971. " 18 (This last 
part actually happened, but the effect is probably not 
as delightful as Cahn imagined.) 

Some of the most intriguing passages in this 
series of articles weren't written by Cahn, but by his 
readers. At the conclusion of the series, The Christian 
Science Monitor published a survey, entitled "How 
Would You Run the National Parks?" More than 
2,000 readers filled out the form and returned it. 
When asked about overcrowding, 402 people agreed 
that the National Park Service should "build more 
campgrounds, lodges, and roads to take care of more 
people," but 950 said the agency should "limit the 
stay in a campground to the number of days it takes 
to see the major attractions, with a maximum of three 
days" and 801 support establishing "a limit for 
[ entrance to each park, much as you would for a the- 
ater. When a certain capacity is reached, a park 
would be closed and reopened only to fill vacan- 
cies." 19 An amazing 759 — almost twice as many as 
wanted more campgrounds — agreed that all camp- 
j grounds should be taken out of the park in favor of 
developments elsewhere. The public willingness to 
tolerate limitations on visitation to Yellowstone may 
have a longer and stronger history than most of us 
I imagine. It does seem that modern objections to plac- 
! ing limits on visitation and related development in 
j national parks come primarily from commercial 
J interests rather than from the public at large. 

Today's conservationists may look back on the 
promotional efforts of early National Park 
Service administrators, and of the planners 
who launched Mission 66, with a mixture of conde- 
I scension and annoyance; that they could be so naive 
as not to realize the eventual consequence of inviting 
| so many people into these fragile places seems 
j retroactively unforgivable. Was it really worth it, we 

17. Ibid., p. 43. 

18. Ibid., p. 44. 

19. Ibid., p. 49. 


wonder, just to make sure that the new National Park 
Service and its small collection of landholdings had 
enough friends? 

Yet today's parks, for all the press of humanity 
lined up to get in, still seem short of friends, or at 
least lacking in just the right combination of friends 
to ensure them adequate budgets and reasonable pro- 
tection. It could even be argued that the fiscal plight 
of modern parks, including Yellowstone, is worse 
than it was when Stephen Mather and Horace 
Albright were welcoming the motorists and trans- 
forming parks into great outdoor hospitality centers. 
Current complaints about Yellowstone's collapsing 
infrastructure — wretched roads, overtaxed sewage 
systems, and so on — are valid, but even if all those 
things are fixed, the park will still not grow larger, 
even as the crowds do. 

Yellowstone is like the Shangri-La of Lost Horizon, 
James Hilton's classic novel of a secret Himalayan 
paradise. Its residents and visitors knew that 
Shangri-La was precious, and they knew it protected 
important treasures, especially in the lessons it held 
for the rest of the world. But they also knew that it 
alone was not able to serve the world's many needs. 
As the ancient High Lama of Shangri-La explained to 
the story's adventurer-hero, "We are a single lifeboat 
riding the seas in a gale; we can take a few chance 
survivors, but if all the shipwrecked were to reach us 
and clamber aboard we should go down our- 
selves." 20 Yellowstone, and to an even greater extent 
the much larger area known as the Greater 
Yellowstone Ecosystem, is such a lifeboat. For all the 
increased awareness of the vulnerability of this par- 
ticular lifeboat, we do not seem yet to have figured 
out how to prevent it from going down. That it may 
go down sooner according to some definitions than 
others, indeed that it may already have gone down 
according to some definitions, seems only to demon- 
strate further our unwillingness to come to terms 
with the reality that the longer we wait, the harder it 
will become to prevent it from finally taking the last 
of its friends down with it. Everybody loves it, but 
nobody loves it enough to leave it. 

20. James Hilton, Lost Horizon (New York: Pocket Books, 
1939), p. 196. 

y ommg j *±e movies 



Traveling to the Park 

Diaries of the Yellowstone Experience 

Uncounted millions of visitors have passed 
through Yellowstone National Park since its 
creation in 1872. Indeed, the trip to Yellow- 
stone is one of those life experiences shared by the 
great majority of those who live in Wyoming and a 
significant portion of those who live elsewhere in the 
United States. The Yellowstone experience includes 
noteworthy touchstones of commonality — Old 
Faithful's regular eruptions, the upper and lower 
falls of the Yellowstone River, wildlife in the open 
meadows — that span economic status, age, and time 
itself. Yet cultural forces technology and time have 
produced constant changes in the Yellowstone expe- 
rience. And those changes make it interesting to look 
back at the accounts of those who written about their 
visits to Yellowstone at another time. 

Presented here are excerpts from the Yellowstone 
journals of two women who visited the park in the 
second decade of the 20th century. 

Lovina Swaim Johnson traveled to Yellowstone in 

the summer of 1913. Her husband, Henry, was in the 
sheep business and they traveled from Wyoming's 
Lost Cabin-Lysite area in the family sheepwagon 
with their 4-year-old son Henry. They drove through 
the Big Horn Basin to Cody where they were joined 
by Lovina's sister Minnie Swaim, before continuing 
on to the east entrance of the park. Significantly, 
Lovina's Yellowstone trip took place just prior to time 
when automobile travel was allowed in the park. 1 

Margaret Patton Gehrke traveled to Yellowstone 
from her home at Lincoln, Nebraska in 1917 — short- 
ly after the park had been opened to automobiles. 
With her husband Edward, Margaret traveled regu- 
larly by train and automobile to places such as 

1. The original journal of Lovina Johnson is in the collection 
of the Riverton Museum and is used here with the permission of 
the museum and Lovina's son, Henry Jenson of Lysite. The illus- 
tration above is a facsimile of one of Lovina's journal entries 

Fall, 1997 

Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon and Yosemite, and her 
more cosmopolitan view of the wonders of Yellow- 
stone provides an interesting contrast to the observa- 
tions of Lovina Johnson. 2 

Only portions of the two journals are published 
here and entries from both are juxtaposed to aid com- 
parisons of the reactions both women had to common 

^ Lovina ^ 

June 13, 1913 

This is Friday, the thirteenth — usually called un- 
lucky — but Friday is my lucky day so I think that start- 
ing out today will make our trip successful. 

At the end of our first day of traveling, we are on 
Bridger Creek, opposite Barney Bausman's ranch house. 
Henry tells me that Mr. Bailsman is quite the laziest man 
that ever lived. 

^§^ Margaret ^^ 

July 9, 1917 

One must do a hundred things today — We start 
our trip tomorrow! 

[Evening] When to start on a trip is no longer 
"wonderful" — then I am ready to leave this good 
world. We have done the "hundred things", even to 
having John Rosborough over to see our new paint- 
ing before he goes to Estes Park for the summer. And 
we are ready to be on our way — away! away! 
Memento vivere"!!!! 

^^ Lovina ^^ 

June 15, 1913 

Last night we got to the "Dee ranch." Once we almost 
tipped the sheep wagon over. The roads have been so badly 
washed out on account of so much rain lately. 

Today we crossed the divide and we are now camped on 
Kirby Creek. We almost had a turn-over with the wagon 
again today. We went down a very steep incline into a 
gulch. I had been asleep but waked up suddenly. Going up 
on the other side was steep and the road was washed into a 
gulch — was nothing but two cut-bank gulches running 

2. The Margaret Gehrke journal is in the collection of the 
Nebraska State Historical Society and is used with the permis- 
sion of that organization. Biographical information about Mrs. 
Gehrke was provided by Jill Marie Koelling. 


side by side — so we had to go below it where it was very 
sideling as well as steep. "If the wagon doesn't tip over 
now, it never will," said Henry as he stopped the horses for 
a rest. He got out and I took my hat and followed. I knew 
there was no immediate danger so left son sleeping in the 
wagon. On the lower side of the wagon and at about the 
middle, Henry tied a rope. Then he threw the other end 
over to the higher side and asked me to stand on the brake 
and swing my body out, holding to the rope. Then he got 
inside and we started. The jiggling along almost spilled me 
off the perch but we got through alright. 

I walked two or three miles today (and yesterday too) 
and helped unharness and harness the horses. I'm going to 
walk every day; it's great fun. Of course I sweat (or should 
I say "glow?") but I don't mind it and walking I see so 
many thing that I couldn't see if I were riding inside the 

^§^ Margaret ^g^ 

July 10, 1917 

Golden summer heat and again it is the "day of 
days." We leave on our trip to Yellowstone and 
Colorado this evening at 6:05. Happy hearts! 

[Evening, En route] How good to be rolling away 
over the hot fields of Nebraska to new sights. Very 
warm but heavy clouds in the west and lightning 
promise a rain. We visited until late with a gentleman 
from California. 

^g? Lovina ^^ 

July 8, 1913 

Have just got to Cody. Cody is on Stinkingwater 
River; it does stink — of sulphur — there is a hot spring 
above the town — probably a sulphur spring. 

^g§? Lovina ^g$ 

July 12, 1913 

Minnie came day before yesterday. It was raining 
when I went to the depot to meet her, and I got a little wet. 

We are camped across the river from town, on the same 
side that the depot is on, but farther up the river. The 
evening she came we went to a moving picture show. 

■^^ Margaret ^^ 

July 12, 1417 

[En route] Sagebrush and the wide desert stretch- 
es of Wyoming! And dust, the sifting powdery dust! 
The only interesting feature of the morning was the 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

Wind River Canon, a picturesque and rocky canon, 
thru which the Big Horn river rushes in its confined 
bed. Then the desert again — places God forgot. 

[Evening, at Cody, Wyo.] On the very edge of 
beautiful things. This semi-arid, treeless Cody gives 
little promise of the wonders of the Yellowstone lying 
so close at hand. Our coach has been side-tracked and 
we will occupy our berth tonight. A delightful dinner 
at the cafe, all ready now for the great ride tomorrow 

^^ Lovina ^^ 

July 18, 1913 

Yesterday we left Cody. . . [and] followed the govern- 
ment road that leads from Cody to the Park. 

About 8 miles from Cody is the government dam. It 
was constructed several years ago and is the highest dam 
in the world — being three hundred twenty five feet in 
height. It is built at a narrow place in the canyon in a quar- 
ter moon shape and is of solid concrete. 

Once on the road in the canyon we met an automobile 
and were fortunate in finding near at hand a place wide 
enough to pass each other. 

t^ Margaret ^^ 

July 13, 1917 

. . . One can live much in a day; the morning was 
clear, bright, and cool — a day made for a wonderful 
ride. In our party were people from the middle west 
only — Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska., and our driver, 
Barney Oldfield the second (although he strongly 
objected to the christening). 

From Cody we followed the Shoshone River val- 
ley into the Shoshone Canyon. For six miles we fol- 
lowed the Canyon, its walls rising above the river to 
tremendous heights, rocky, jagged, and almost barren 
of vegetation. We crept along the face of the moun- 
tain where the road has been blasted and chiseled in 
and thru the solid rock. Our first stop was at the 
Government dam — a wonderful feat of engineering. 
Here the view of the angry and imprisoned waters is 
wonderful, and lying all about us the mystery of the 
great rock walls and the deep gorge. 

Then on again over smooth roads that beckon, the 
character of the country ever changing. Vegetation 
begins and disappears. We came to the firs, the ever- 
greens, the aspens, and felt we were in the heart of 
things when a mother deer and her two babies dart- 

ed across the road. We climb and at Sylvan Pass have 
reached an altitude of 8,650 ft., (a new altitude for 
automobiling so far as I am concerned) here snow lies 
at the road side, so that one can delight in snow- 
balling in July — tourist's privilege! 

^^ Lovina ^^ 

July 19, 1913 

We left last night's camp this morning at 9:30 a.m. 
After perhaps an hour of traveling we came to the U.S. for- 
est reserve. The road led through another Shoshone River 
canyon, the formation of the rocks of which were, so Henry \ 
said, of porphyry of a brownish color, and in many places 
were worn away into curious shapes and forms. Among 
the most remarkable of them are The Goose, The Lady and 
The Cabin, The Sentinel, The Camel, and The Holy City. 
The last named indeed looks like pictures I have seen of the 
Holy City of Jerusalem. How I should like to see the real 
Jerusalem and all of those old country cities from which 
civilization sprang. I have always longed intensely to trav- 
el — to see, to learn. Will my longing ever be gratified? I'm 
afraid not. But I have the present and I'm going to enjoy it 
to the utmost. 

We found that we were not allowed to take a dog thro 
the park. A man told us and then offered to take Jack. So we 
gave him away. We still have Rip, the cat, but I'm afraid 
the high atmosphere will get him. Cats can't live in 
extremely high places. 3 

Behind the wagon is a timbered ravine, leading 
upward to a very high mountain. These scenes are won- 
derful. I can never cease marveling at their grandeur and 
beauty. If Nature, on a grand scale, is conducive to great 
thoughts I surely ought to be endowed with at least a few, 
for I love Nature so deeply. God grant that it may be so. 
Perhaps if it is so, my posterity will be endowed with them, 
and then will help to make a better race of man. I want my 
offspring to be thoroughbreds in the highest sense of the 
word. Try to be worthy, my children, of the high hopes and 
thought your ancestress has had for her yet unborn chil- 
dren, as well as the beloved child that is. Of all the king- 
doms of the earth, the most wonderful kingdom, after all, is 
within you. 

3. A margin note written sometime later by Lovina says 
"Atmosphere did not hurt Rip a bit. He had the time of his life 
chasing those large chipmunks or ground squirrels." 

Margaret Gehrke and her husband Edward recorded their traveler adventures in many photographs. Later, Margaret 
ussembled them into attractive albums. Her inscription accompanying this photo reads "Leaving arid Cody for the beauty 
hf Yellowstone." (Nebraska State Historical Society) 

^^ Lovina ^g^ 

July 21 1913 

Yesterday (the 20th) we came farther up the river and 
ire still in the canyon. Everyone we have seen along the 
way is very cordial. It seems as if the whole world is going 
to the park. At least a half a dozen wagons pass us every 
day going parkward. 

^^ Lovina ^^ 

July 23, 1913 

It rained yesterday, so we did not go on. Today we 
\:ame perhaps three miles. We could not go far on account 
of the roads being so muddy. 

^g^ Lovina ^^ 

July 28, 1913 

Yesterday we left the place where we were at the last 
writing. We came perhaps six or seven miles. We passed 
Pahaska on the way, and tried to get some groceries there. 
They were almost out of everything on account of so much 
win lately. We managed to get a little flour and had to pay 
ten cents a pound. 

Then we came about two and a half miles farther and 
were to the "Eastern Entrance to the Yellowstone National 
Park"!!!! There is nothing there to mark the entrance 
except the small office building (perhaps three rooms) and 
a few tents of the United States militia. We came on for 
perhaps a mile and a half and there stopped for the night. 

I forgot to say that at the entrance we — or rather 
Henry — registered and had the guns sealed. The seals are 
composed of a wire, wrapped about the gun in such a way 
as to prevent discharge without first breaking it, and the 
ends of this wire are embedded in a small piece of lead bear- 
ing some letters — U.S.A., I think. 

Today we came on thro the Sylvan Pass and we are 
now camped near the Sylvan Lake. 

Tor loveliness and beauty this country is absolutely 

We have come for miles without passing any kind of a 
dwelling . . . . I wonder if these forests will ever be replaced 
by ranches? 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

^^ Lovina ^^ 

July 29, 1913 

The road wound around higher and higher on the hills 
until finally from the highest point we could plainly see the 
Yellowstone Lake in the distance and far below, about fif- 
teen miles away according to the mile posts. 

The rain continued and we had a fire in the [sheep- 
wagon] stove while moving. It is so very cold that we cer- 
tainly appreciated the warmth. 

^^ Margaret ^^ 

July 13, 1917 

[Continued] As we rode along the backward 
glance is always worthwhile — the enchanted way 
over which we have come — the green shapes of the 
mountains, the snow patches at the top, the blue haze 
in the valleys, the ribbon rivers far away, — the quiet 
mountain lakes lying placid and smiling in the sun- 

We made our way on, until we came to the first 
glimpse of Yellowstone Lake, it lay big and blue, with 
dark mountains rising from its base. At the Lake we 
stopped for lunch at the camp and an hour's rest. 

^^ Lovina ^^ 

August 1, 1913 

On the night of July 29th — when last I wrote — 
about four inches of snow fell. It came down silently — for 
there was no wind — and in the morning everything was 
covered. The boughs of the trees, and even the telephone 
wires were laden with snow. It was beautiful — one of the 
most picturesque snow storms I ever saw. 

On the 31st we arose rather early. Minnie was frozen 
out of the teepee and came into the wagon and started afire 
about six o'clock. After breakfast we climbed the hill on the 
left side of the road and had a magnificent view of the lake. 
Then we came back and started. Minnie and I walked for 
about four miles. 

Once, in passing thro a wood, we noticed two trees 
which stood perhaps eighteen inches apart, [and] joined 
together by a bough which had grown into both of them. It 
was impossible to tell which of them it had grown from at 
first. A signboard told us that these were called the 
"Wedded Trees." 

Those signboards, what could we do without them? 
Because of them we cannot go wrong or forget regulations 

— because of them we see practically all the things worth 

Did I mention that all the attractions in the Park are in 
a circle? They are. 

About three and a half miles from Lake Junction on a 
long stretch of very muddy road, we got stuck with the\ 
wagon. We took the lead team off and fastened them by a 
chain to the back part of the hind wheel. The horses pulledl 
the wheel around until the chain was in front and then we 
put the chain behind again and pulled again. Thus, by<\ 
degrees, we got out. 

Where we crossed the Yellowstone river several men 

Unfortunately, no photographs of Lovina Johnson's 191c 
Yellowstone adventure are in existence. She is shown hen 
at her Lysite home in 1935 with her son Henry, who wai 
four years old at the time of the trip to Yellowstont 
National Park. 

<ALL, 1997 

mere on the bridge fishing and one or two boats were out in 
he river — everyone was fishing. They didn't seem to 
zatch anything. We camped about half or quarter of a mile 
torn the hotel on the shore of the lake. The first thing we 
iid was to get out of the wagon and watch the sea gulls and 
telicans. I had never before seen a pelican. 

We had supper late, and just as we finished eating, the 
sightseers of the transportation company's camp built a big 
-amp fire and had some music. Presumably some of the sol- 
tiers were over there for the bugle and cornet both were 
ilayed, and it sounded beautiful on the night air. Then the 
iear, beautiful voice of a woman rang out — singing. I 
vonder who she was? Then some more instrumental music 
ind we went to bed. 

This morning we went to the general store and got a 
: ew provisions. As we were coming back we saw a black 
tear making itself comfortable in the shade of the trees. 

Our intention is to go north, to the Grand Canyon and 
alls, then double back to Lake Junction and go around the 
)ther way until we get to the northern part of the circle. 
There we will take the road to Gardiner and out. 

This morning Henry bought nine big fish — salmon 
rout — from a couple of boys for fifty cents. They were 
iear at the price, tho. Five of the nine were wormy and we 
lad to throw them away. 

^^ Lovina ^g% 

August 2, 1913 

This morning we started about eleven o'clock. In a lit- 
tle while we came to the mud geyser. It boils up in a hole in 
me clay. That is why it is muddy, I suppose. The geyser is 
libout ten or fifteen feet across and occasionally shoots to a 
\ieight of perhaps fifteen feet. Ordinarily, tho, it shoots 
\ibout five feet. The water (or mud) is hot. 

There are dozens of other hot springs around there — 
]'>ome big, some little, some very muddy, some only slight- 
ly muddy, but none entirely clear, except one. I believe is 
Called the grotto geyser. It gushes out from a tiny cave of 
vock and is very hot, as I found when I thoughtlessly put 
my hand in it. 

The valley widened and became rolling hills covered by 
nrass and flowers. The river flowed very smoothly and 
vlowly. Once we saw four elk, two bulls, and two cows. 

As we neared the falls the hills became higher on both 
hides of the river, and were timber covered. Perhaps a hun- 
dred feet or so above the fine concrete bridge which we 
yrossed, the smooth and placid river suddenly became 
vapids. We are now camped on the side of the river opposite 


from the ICanyon] Hotel. We have seen three or four deer, 
one of them was a faun. They are not at all afraid. 

This evening Minnie, son and I went for a walk. We 
went to the bridge first and then went down the river. We 
went down close to the river and saw the falls. We didn't 
know whether they were the upper or lower falls but pre- 
sumed they were the lower ones. The upper falls are 109 
feet in height. The lower 308 ft. 

^§? Margaret ^^ 

July 13, 1917 

[Continued] At three o'clock we were on our way 
again for the last lap of the day's travel, a distance of 
17 miles. The road follows the Yellowstone river and 
passes thru the Hayden Valley. A stop is made at Mud 
Volcano — it has a funnelshaped crater and bubbles 
forth a lead-colored mass of hot mud in violent agita- 
tion. In this vicinity there is no end of overflowing 
hot pools. 

Arriving on our way into camp we were given a 
glimpse of the canyon, and that glimpse is pregnant 
with promise for tomorrow. (Can there be a tomor- 
row of wonderful things, too? Such is the privilege of 
those who love to wander in a world of mystery.) 

We had dinner at a quaint log dining room, before 
a blazing fire, then straight to camp and to bed. The 
blessedness of sleep when one is so utterly weary. 
Such a day it has been. How it rejoices the heart to be 
in company with the big elemental things of God, 
and leave a world of men behind. Fair Friday the 

^m Lovina ^^ 

August 3, 1913 

This morning I arose at 6:30 o'clock and by nine 
o'clock we were ready to start out sight-seeing. We crossed 
the concrete bridge and followed down the road until we 
came to the first or upper falls. They were the falls we had 
seen last night from the other side of the river. Then we 
climbed back up the steps and went farther down the river 
until we came to a steep path leading downward to the 
larger and lower falls. Hozv can I describe them? They are 
magnificent — grand. As I said before, the water drops 308 
feet sending sprays — indeed clouds — of water far out- 
ward and upward from the base. We stood for some time 
watching the wonderful green of the water hurl itself over 
the rocks, then Henry threw a rock into it. We thought 
surely the stone would strike on the other side of the 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

Prior to 1915 when automobiles were first allowed to travel Yellowstones roadways, most Wyoming people traveled to tht\ 
park in their own horsedrawn conveyances. Shown here is a Riverton family pausing along the road from Jackson Hole k 
Togwotee Pass after completing a trip through the park in 1914. (Riverton Museum) 

canyon — so near it seemed — but it barely reached the 
middle of the river below. After watching for some time 
longer we began the ascent again by way of long flights of 
steps. I think there must be at least four hundred of them. 
Needless to say, we were tired when we again reached the 
top. Then we walked around the Hotel. It is said to be one 
and one-tenth miles around the foundation, and contains 
five hundred rooms. It is a very cheap looking affair on the 
outside — has apparently been made from rough native 
lumber. After that we went back to camp and after eating 
lunch and resting for a while we prepared to go. 

We are now camped where we were the night before 
last. Supper is one the stove cooking and I am hungry so I 
am going to quit. 

^g? Margaret ^^ 

July 14, 1917 

Breakfast, some minutes before a hearth of great 
blazing logs, a half hour with the lovable bears, and 
we set out for a morning tramp, following the edge of 
the canyon as far as Artist's Point. An attempt to 
describe the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is 
unworthy. At best we can only make comparisons, 
and comparisons are unfair: It is unlike the Grand 
Canyon of the [Colorado], and it is not Niagara. It is 

both, and it is not. It is not so immense, but it is more 
intense. To me it is not grandeur but beauty! 
Unearthly beauty — one can only weep. Rudy arc 
Kipling wrote: "All that I can say is that withou 
warning or preparation I looked into a gulf 1700 feet 
deep, with eagles and fish-hawks circling far below 
And the sides of that gulf were one wild melee o 
color — crimson, emerald, cobalt, ochre, amber 
honey splashed with port wine, snow-white, vermil 
ion, lemon, and silver-gray in wide washes. And sc 
far below that no sound of its strife could reach us 
the Yellowstone River ran, a finger-wide strip of jad< 

The Lower Fall of the Yellowstone is almost twice 
as high as Niagara, 308 feet, and while its volume 0\ 
water is much less, its beauty is greater. The Uppe 
Fall is 109 ft. A view of the latter fall is but a slip fron 
our camp door and we are lulled to sleep with th 
sound of its waters. 

After so strenuous a morning, I was glad t< 
remain in camp a few hours this afternoon to write 
while Edward went trout fishing. 

[Evening] A fine time this evening. Went on a hik 
with some traveling friends while the man fished. W 
went down the steps to the foot of both the Uppe " l 

'ALL, 1997 


md Lower Falls. The latter is 498 steps to the base. It 
ivas a big climb and a long walk but fine. And our 
iecond day in Yellowstone National came to a close. 
t is a wonderland. 

^g^ Lovina ^^ 

August 3, 1913 

Arose at 5:30 o'clock this morning. Left camp about 
?:25. Before reaching the militia station, nothing unusual 
lappened. There Henry registered and had the gun permit 
ngned. Then we came on by Lake Hotel and stopped at the 
•mall store long enough to get a few things — groceries — 
ind then came on. But before leaving there we saw two 
ilack bears. One was a cub, and was standing on its hind 
egs drinking milk from a bottle which someone was hold- 
ngfor it. 

After we had passed Lake Junction we saw four deer — 
ill bucks, with horns "in the velvet. " 

We decided to wash this afternoon and had everything 
■eady when it began to rain, and we had to put off washing 
mtil a better time. 

^^ Lovina ^§^r 

August 6, 1913 

Yesterday (5th) we came as far as Thumb Lunch 
i \ztation. About half a mile — or so — before we got to the 
Thumb, we began passing hot springs. Some of them were 
hfa beautiful greenish color and some were muddy. 

After registering at the station we set camp and had 
nipper. After supper we went to see the hot springs. While 
Inspecting them a couple of soldiers came and, after talking 
vr a while, took us to see the fish cone. It is a tiny island 
— cone-shaped — and perhaps four feet across, a little dis- 
tance from the shore of the lake — Lake Yellowstone. In the 
henter of this cone is a small basin [and in the basin] there 
| : s a hot spring. 

"You can fish in the lake, and then throw your fish into 
pie cone and cook them" the soldiers told us. Whether or 
not this is true, I don't know. I know that the water in the 
hot springs in Thermopolis is not hot enough to cook any- 
l hing, but this water seemed to be much hotter than that at 
Thermopolis. Perhaps what the soldiers said is true. 

Then they showed us where the Paint Pots were locat- 
ed. These were a pleasant surprise for us as we had not 
peard there were paint pots here. The "Paint Pots" cover, 
'perhaps, two square rods of ground and are nothing more 
or less than mud boiling up — a thick pink mud! Pink 
unud, mind you. Later we found a tiny white paint pot. 

This morning we saw three bear — two black bear and 
one that resembled a silver-tip, only that it was small. 
Much smaller than the bear from which our silver-tip bear 
rug was done. 

We met dozens of tourist coaches on our way today as 
indeed we have every day. There is one good thing about 
these park roads, aside from their improved condition, 
automobiles are not allowed in here; so we are not in con- 
stant fear that, at some sharp turn in the road we will run 
into one. 

^g? Lovina ^^ 

August 8, 1913 

Yesterday (7th) we came to Old Faithful. On our way 
we passed the Isa Two Ocean Lake. I suppose it is fed by 
springs in or near it and its waters divide. Part going east 
and part west to the two oceans. It is not much of a sight 
— a mere pond — and it would certainly not be mentioned 
on the map were it not for the fact that its waters go to two 

Soon we began passing hot springs; big and little, all 
kinds, in fact. 

We camped very near to Old Faithful (on camp 
grounds, of course) and after eating supper we went out 
sight-seeing. We passed the Old Faithful geyser, which was 
not playing just then — and visited both sides of the river, 
where there are hundreds of hot springs and a dozen or so 
of geysers. One of the springs is called Chinaman, another, 
the Sponge — with very remarkable formation — another, 
the Butterfly and of the geysers the Beehive — which we 
peeped into, not knowing that it was a geyser. And we were 
fortunate enough to see the Castle geyser play, too. It plays 
for an hour or two at a time, and at intervals of about twen- 
ty-six hours. From a distance we saw Old Faithful play, 
and had a good view of it. It seems hardly necessary to 
describe it to any great length, but this diary would not be 
complete without telling the main points of interest about 
it. Its plays are from every sixty to eighty-two or -three 
minutes apart and it plays for perhaps two or three min- 
utes at a time. Throws water about a hundred feet into the 
air. After dark we saw it play with the search light on it. 
The view was great. We also saw the Old Faithful Inn. 
Made entirely of logs and is supposed to be built without a 
nail in the whole structure. It is a real work of art. In the 
lobby there are big fireplaces, rough but comfortable chairs, 
and rugs on the floor. The steps leading upstairs arc of half 
logs. In fact, the whole building — inside and out — ts of 
logs; rough logs, with the bark on. 

This morning (8th) we got a few provisions at the store 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal | 

and then came on. Among the notible things we saw were 
the Emerald Pool (I was disappointed in it), Sunset Lake (it 
was far prettier than Emerald Pool because larger), Grotto 
Geyser, Riverside Geyser, Giant Geyser, the Fan, and the 
Morning Glory Pool — all of them interesting and beauti- 


We saw the Fountain Geyser from a distance , and 
then passed the Fountain Hotel. We are now camped about 
a mile and a half from the hotel on the Nez Perces creek. 

I almost forgot to mention the Excelsior Geyser. It is- an 
immense pool of boiling water in a cutbank hole at least a 
hundred and fifty feet across. It is remarkable, not only for 
its size, but also for its color, which is of wonderful blue. 
This geyser plays at very irregular intervals — sometimes 
years elapsing between each eruption. Its last eruption was 
in 1889. It has been so long quiet that possibly it is extinct 
now. It is said that when it breaks forth it tears the ground 
away for several feet around and sends water to an 
immense height. 

^§^ Margaret ^^ 

July 15, 1917 

Spent our golden Sunday morning here at the 
Canyon. Enjoyed a beautiful view from Inspiration 
Point, Grand View, Lookout Point, and had a glimpse 
of the splendid Hotel Grand Canyon. I believe its 
lounging room is the largest and most pretentious I 
was ever in. We had luncheon and are now waiting to 
start on our way to Mammoth .... 

[Evening] The trip this afternoon was strenuous. 
We suffered from heat — a burning sun — and our 
progress was retarded by rutted roads and snow 
drifts. . . . Proceeding from the Canyon we traversed 
some thoroughly inspiring scenery, surely nothing 
could surpass the wide panorma of thickly wooded 
mountains and hazy valleys when one has reach the 
climb to Dunraven Pass, and gazes over into a far 
country of mingled earth and sky. 

We were set down at five o'clock at Mammoth 
Hot Springs, about the hottest spot I ever struck — a 
regular Arizona. But after the sun disappeared 
behind the mountain and we had had a bit to eat we 
began to get our bearings in the utterly unfamiliary 
environment. . . . 

The hot springs and terraces occupy several acres 
to the south of the plateau, and rise tier above tier on 
the slope of Terrace Maount. One can do little more 
than get a general notion of Liberty Cap, Pulpit, 
Jupiter, Angel and Cleopatra terraces . . ., and many 

smaller vents and caves and steam fissures. Not the | 
least interesting was the descent into the Devil's I 
Kitchen, the crater of an extinct hot spring. It was all 

thoroughly novel We came back to camp with 

the quiet night sky over us, feeling the presence of a 
new world. And it is good to see a new world. 

^^ Margaret ^^ 

July 16, 1917 

[Enroute from Mammoth to Old Faithful] We 
motored 49 miles today and in this long ride perhaps 
saw a little more than one can put down in black and 
white. One cannot hope to remember all of the won- 
ders of Norris Geyser Basin, Lower and Upper 
Geyser Basins, but one can and will remember his 
first impression of geysers in general. Viewed from a 
distance they resemble camp fires. One walks over 
great fields and upon every hand, thru small aper- 
tures in the earth's crust, steam hisses and sputters or 
rushes with tremendous force, high into the air with 
a roar that may be heard for miles. There are acres 
under which a roaring volcano seems to be strug- 
gling to liberate itself thru great cracks in the earth's 
surface. It is indeed the Devil's Half Acre. How the 
poet Dante would have enjoyed it! We spent the after 
noon trying to get some comprehension of all these i 
natural wonders about Old Faithful, the degree of 
our success may be judged by the fact that it is said 
that this basin holds more geysers, hot pools, and like* 
features than all others combined. The whole region 
seems to bubble and hiss and steam. The one conso- 
lation to the hurried tourist is the fact that all geysers 
look much alike, and a general impression is all one 
asks. Best of all is Old Faithful itself, the reliable 
friend of the tourist, for eruptions occur every 
sixty-five minutes regularly, lasting three minutes, 
from 125 to 150 feet high. We spent a delightful 
evening at lovely Old Faithful Inn. So glad we 
changed from "camp" to "hotel." 

^^ Margaret 

July 17, 1917 

Spent a quiet beautiful morning enjoying quaint 
Old Faithful Inn, with its wonderful fire place, its 
monster clock, its great rafters, its rustic veranda. 
After luncheon we departed leaving Old Faithful and 
its companions behind. A pleasant shower made the 
afternoon ride to Lake Yellowstone delightful. We 
liked the soft air and clouded sky. And we saw deer, 

Spring. 1997 


too, along the way. We motored 34 miles thru pines 
and firs and came at evening to the shore of beautiful 
Yellowstone Lake, with its cloud-mirrored waters 
and dark mountains. After dinner at the Hotel, we 
spent the evening boating. A good day to have lived 

^^ Lovina ^^ 

August 10, 1913 

Yesterday (the 9th) we came on about nine and a half 
or ten miles farther. We passed some Firehole River cas- 
cades. They were interesting. Indeed all falls and cascades 
ire interesting to me. 

After a while we came to hot springs — literally 
dozens and dozens of them. And among these geysers — 
the Minute Man, which plays from every two to five min- 
utes, and the duration of the eruption of which is from one 
to three minutes. The other geyser is called Monarch, and 
it times has long periods of inaction. However, it has been 
playing quite regularly lately and we were fortunate 
enough to see it in eruption. It shot up perhaps thirty or 
thirty-five feet into the air. The stream of water was almost 
is wide as it was high and was very muddy. Then we came 
farther on and passed a basin that was covered with 
springs and geysers. Minnie, son and I followed a board 
walk and went into the basin. The first thing we came to 
was a steam vent. The escape of the steam was accompa- 
nied by a terrible roar.- It was called the Black Growler. 
\lndeed, there were two of these, the second, unnamed, was 
\really louder than the first. 

In many places the sign boards were either down or the 
hiames worn off so often we did not know their names. One, 
a geyser we judged to be the Constant. (We have guide- 
books along to tell us what we are to see.) Also there was a 
Cheryl colored spring, and opal colored spring, and an emer- 
ald spring. 

Then we passed the Norris Lunch Station and came to 
\\the Norris Militia Station where Henry registered. We 
v.came on about two miles and are now camped for the night 
Inear some hot springs called the Frying Pan. 

I almost tire of telling of the hot springs for they are 
every where — hundreds, even thousands of them. 

This evening we took some breakfast food and some 
beans and prepared them and then took them down to the 
hot springs and set them into some of the smaller springs 
Mo see if they would cook. Henry has just come back from 
there again and said that the breakfast food is done. I don't 
I know whether the beans are done or not. We are going to 
leave them in over night. 

Four years after their 1917 trip through Yelloivstone 
National Park, Margaret and Edward Gehrke returned for 
another visit. Margaret is shown here in 1921 enjoying the 
view from an overlook at the Grand Canyon of the 
Yellozustone (Nebraska State Historical Society) 

A funny thing happened today. When we were in the 
Norris Geyser Basin I saw a sign board lying face down- 
ward and went over to see what name was on it. It read 
"Dangerous"! I got away from there. 

^3^ Margaret ^^ 

July 18, 1917 

After breakfast we took a delightful morning hike 
to the outlet of Yellowstone Lake, where I left Edward 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal j 

to spend the morning trout fishing while I returned 
alone. Coming back to the Hotel I was afraid of bears 
but the walk was lovely. The bright morning sun- 
shine spilling thru the trees, the shadows across the 
road, that leads away into tall quiet trees, the still- 
ness, the indescribable charm of the solitary moun- 
tain road. 

We will be on our way this afternoon over the 
beautiful Cody road — out of Yellowstone Park 

[Evening, at Cody] Hot desert-like Cody again. 
We had an enjoyable ride in company with some [?] 
bub-millionaires. We put the top up, we put the top 
down, and for climax had a puncture! But we arrived 
less than an hour late none the worse for our 84 mile 
ride and uncongenial folks. And we are at Cody — 
the town on-the-edge-of-things-beautiful. 

^^ Lovina ^^ 

August 14, 1913 

One the eleventh we passed the Obsidian Cliff, 
Appolinaris Spring (a spring with a soda taste, and con- 
taining iron), Beaver Lake, Roaring Mountain (a moun- 
tain from which steam was escaping with a roar). That 
night we camped on Obsidian Creek, near a Wylie camp, 
on a meadow called Willow park. On the twelfth we came 
on to Gardiner. 

We passed the Golden Gate. The road is built around 
the side of a mountain, and the lower side is supported by 
an arcade of concrete. Then we went on farther and passed 
the Silver Gate. This was, to me, no less impressive than 
the other. Huge boulders of the hot spring formation were 
lying about everywhere — the stratas or layers of which 
could be plainly seen. 

After a while we came to some more formations and 
went over to see what it was. It was a terrace, beautifully 
colored with the water which ran down from it and was 
called Angel Terrace. Then, seeing several paths leading 
farther up the hill we followed one and came to the top. We 
noticed a sign board which read "Devil's Kitchen," but saw 
nothing that in any way resembled a kitchen. After a while 
we saw it. It was merely a small slit in the ground — so 
small that, as we followed the steps that led downward, my 
hat touched the sides of the cave. For it was a cave. It 

widened as we went downward, and after going for per- 
haps twenty five feet we came to the bottom. It was perhaps 
eight feet wide and as much as twenty feet in length (pos- 
sibly more), tapering off at both ends and ending in black- 
ness. It was very hot down there and we hastened to get 
back to light again. 

At the Mammoth Hot Springs there was no place to) 
camp where there was grass for the horses so we came on, 
and after five miles more of travel down hill we came to thel 
northern entrance to the park, and Gardiner. But it was 
our exit. We came thro the arch upon which was inscribed 
"Tor the benefit and enjoyment of the people. " [It] was ded- 
icated by President Roosevelt in 1903. 

In the morning (the 13th) Minnie boarded the traim 
and left for Lost Cabin and her school. 

^^ Margaret ^^ 

July 19, 1917 

[En route to Denver] Never spent a more tiresome 
day of travel; hot, dirty, uncomfortable, and not feel- 
ing well besides. When it is hot and the wind blows 
this desert is awful. Travel is heavy, we did not suc- 
ceed in getting a sleeper section until after we leftj 
Casper about 8:30, and then glad to get an "upper" or 
anywhere to lie down and rest. 

^^ Lovina ^^ 

October 6, 1913 

[After traveling as far as Butte, Montana, Henry and; 
Lovina Johnson decided to return to Lost Cabin. As their 
journey came to end, Lovina summed up .] 

We have had interesting experiences .... But, for the 
most part our trip has been in one respect disagreeable — 
it has been lonely. More so for me than Henry, because I,\\ 
being a woman, cannot talk to people as he can. 

I suppose that we will have but little left when we get\ 
back to Lost Cabin — that is, in the line of households 
goods. Most of them were given away [before leaving for A 
Yellowstone] and I don't want them again. The sheepM 
wagon will do us until we can afford to get more, and therm 
I want good things. 

<ALL, 1997 


Book Reviews 

Significant recent books on Western and Wyoming History 
Edited by Carl Hallberg 

Zavalry Yellow and Infantry Blue: 

Army Officers in Arizona Between 1851 and 


)y Constance Wynn Altshuler 

cii + 418 pages 

\lbuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1991 (1996 reprint) 

Both, $45.00. 

The American Southwest has long served as a 
ocal point for western military historians. Constance 
/Vynn Altshuler 's encyclopedic compilation provides 
he student of the Southwest with another valuable 
esource. Comprised of concise biographical sum- 
maries, this book documents the accomplishments of 
jipproximately eight hundred commissioned army 
pfficers and volunteers from California and New 
|lvlexico stationed in Arizona for at least one month 
iluring their terms of service. The study spans the 
period from the establishment of the first U.S. Army 
post in 1851 to the end of the Geronimo campaigns in 

Relying on biographical registers, manuscripts, 
census data, and secondary materials garnered 
hrough a lifetime of research, Altshuler gives readers 
;omething more than the typical compendium pro- 
vided by a historical register. Official service infor- 
mation has been augmented with the personal partic- 
ulars of marital status, family relations, social life, 
rourts-marshal, health data, and non-military 
employment. Some of Altshuler 's concomitant anec- 
iotes furnish insights into officers' decisions to seek 
Reassignment or leave the army. 

A somewhat troubling aspect of Altshuler 's com- 
pilation is her failure to define the boundaries of 
Arizona. Yet, in 1851, the Territory of New Mexico 
lontained within its borders all of what comprises the 
| tate of Arizona today. Additionally, military jurisdic- 
ions did not fit within current state boundaries; in 
860 the Department of California stretched from the 
'acific to New Mexico. The book's index is limited as 
t consists solely of alphabetical listings of individu- 

als. The addition of a topical index in future printings 
may aid the researcher and student in linking signif- 
icant battles, campaigns, and incidents with the par- 
ties involved. 

Despite the book's title, its scope encompasses 
military events from the War of 1812 to the battles of 
World War I. The military actors in the drama of 
southwestern history also played significant roles in 
campaigns affecting other regions of the West. By 
emphasizing these endeavors as well as those relat- 
ing to Arizona, the book serves as a useful reference 
for any student seeking information about officers in 
the late nineteenth century. Although Altshuler con- 
cedes that some military men "led dull lives," she 
insists in her introduction that "an officer is more 
than a pair of shoulder straps." Through uniquely 
constructed biographies that personify participants, 
she demonstrates that they were much more indeed. 

Reviewed by Kyle V. Walpole, University of Wyoming 

Alias Frank Canton 

by Robert K. DeArment 

Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996 

x + 402 pages, illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index 

Cloth, $29.95 

Frank Canton is a fascinating but shadowy figure 
of western history. His life intersected events and 
developments that have become the stuff of legend. 
He achieved notoriety as a cowboy, a trail driver, and 
a lawman who played a central role in the infamous 
Johnson County War in Wyoming. He was hired as a 
detective for the cattle ranchers and served six years 
as sheriff. As tensions between ranchers and home- 
steaders increased in Johnson County, he was 
accused of several murders of the farmer /townspeo- 
ple faction and helped lead the cattlemen's hired 
"army" in a botched invasion of the county using a 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journai I 

death list of suspected rustlers and their allies. This 
tragic-comic conflict made Canton notorious. Some- 
time later he met Owen Wister and was widely, but 
falsely, rumored to be the model for Wister 's arche- 
typal cowboy, the Virginian. 

After the Johnson County conflict, Canton be- 
came a lawman in the Oklahoma Territory, where he 
clashed with the remnants of the Dalton gang and 
killed one member; a bounty hunter in Wyoming 
where he futilely chased the Wild Bunch from the 
Hole-in-the-Wall for the Union Pacific Railroad; and a 
federal marshal in Alaska during the gold rush there, 
where he shared a cabin with Rex Beach, another 
popular western writer. Canton ended his career as a 
commander of the Oklahoma National Guard and 
retired just months before his troops joined Per- 
shing's expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916. 

Then there was Joe Horner. The son of an itiner- 
ant farmer /minister, Horner worked as a ranch hand 
in Texas after the Civil War, developed a strong dis- 
like of Indians during the Kiowa-Comanche conflicts, 
and joined a trail drive to Abilene (he had to walk 
much of the way after Indians stole most of the hors- 
es). Returning to Texas he became involved with a 
local gang suspected of various robberies, burglaries, 
and perhaps murders, shot and killed a black soldier 
during a barroom brawl, was arrested and escaped 
from jail or prison three times before disappearing 
from Texas and history. Horner, of course, re- 
emerged several years later in Wyoming as the 
famous lawman Frank Canton. 

Robert DeArment has produced a superb, proba- 
bly definitive biography of Horner /Canton. This is 
no small feat, particularly considering the web of 
embellishments and outright lies that Canton spun 
around his own life in a widely disseminated autobi- 
ography, Frontier Trails, and in numerous interviews 
he gave over the course of his life. Those inaccuracies 
were, in turn, perpetuated by family members who 
carefully watched over his posthumous reputation as 
a successful and upright lawman. 

Alias Frank Canton is meticulously researched, 
well written, and carefully and judiciously interpret- 
ed. It fills a large gap in the traditional history of the 
frontier west, and is a great read besides. It should be 
of particular interest to students of frontier Texas, Ok- 
lahoma, and Wyoming, with an excellent section on 
the complex and controversial Johnson County War. 
The entry on Canton in the Encyclopedia of Frontier 

)ed ir i 


Biography concludes: "Canton's career is wrapped 
mystery and some of the significant events of his 
no doubt will never come to light" (Vol. I, pp. 222 
223). While that is still true, DeArment has done i 
remarkable job of dispelling some of the mystery anc 
darkness of Frank Canton's enigmatic past. It wil 
surely be a long time before we have a better bool 
about this intriguing figure of western history. 

Reviewed by Kent Blaser, Wayne State College 

The Oglala People, 1841-1879: 
A Political History 

by Catherine Price. 

xvi + 234 pages, illustrations, maps,notes, bibliography, index 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996 
Cloth, $40.00 

The Oglala People is a detailed political histor; 
about the Oglalas from 1841 to 1879. Prices' narrativj 
focuses on the Oglala's leadership and their relation 
with the U.S. government during these years — yean 
bracketed by two major turning points in OglaL 
political life. Price begins with the death of Bull Bean 
an influential itancan (band leader) killed in an "intra 
tribal quarrel," whose death split the Oglalas ini 
two major groups, the Kiyuksas (Bear People) and 
the Bad Faces (Smoke People), and ends with th 
establishment of the Pine Ridge Agency in the wintej 
of 1878. It is a periodization which, as Price point! 
out, reflects an Oglala perspective. 

Throughout the book Price endeavors to "preser 
the various political strategies employed by Oglal 
councilors as they struggled to preserve their politicc 
customs and autonomy in their ongoing relation 
with the United States." These "councilors" faced I 
U.S. government determined to reshape Oglala polili I 
ical life in its own image. U.S. officials continually, 
attempted to impose a rigid hierarchical structure o , 
the Oglalas by trying to fabricate what they termed j 
''head chief" — a powerful leader who exerted cor M 
trol over the several different Oglala tiyospaye (bandf! j 
— a position which had no precedent in the Oglal 
political structure. 

Price cites two notable examples of the U.S. stra 

7 ALL, 1997 


sgy. At the Fort Laramie peace talks, Colonel David 
C. Mitchell requested "a suitable man" to act as 
'chief of the whole nation." He was rebuffed by Blue 
Earth, the Brule spokesman, who told Mitchell that 
:he Brule leaders had "decided differently . . . about 
:his chief of the nation" and that "we can't make one 
chief." But this obsession with the notion of a single 
lead chief expressed itself most fully in the federal 
government's relationship to Red Cloud. Although, 
as Price notes, Red Cloud was a respected Bad Face 
'olotahurika (war party leader), he was not even an 
Itancan (at least before the agency period), much less 
a head chief of all the Lakotas, Nevertheless, federal 
agents treated him as such and consequently won- 
dered when he was unable to force decisions upon 
Dther Oglalas. 

Government officials did not understand the 
extent to which Oglala political decision-making was 
decentralized, consensus-based, and largely void of 
coercive means of enforcement. As Price writes, 
pglala decision-making "could flow to and from any 
: one of several types of leadership positions" includ- 
ing itancans (band leaders), wakiconzas (camp admin- 
istrators), okic Has (enforcers of decisions), and 
'blotahunkas (war party leaders). Instead, officials 
"believed that the Oglala system mirrored, more or 
jiess, that of the United States, with a powerful leader 
((the president) able to make and enforce decisions. 
t'Thus when federal commissioners participated in 
Councils with the Oglalas and other Native Ameri- 
cans," writes Price, "they were culturally predispos- 
ed to seek out, or in some cases to appoint, a very 
Ismail number of men they called head chiefs or 
'chiefs. " Price concludes that the efforts of the U.S. 
j government and its "broadly applied aculturational- 
Ists policies" failed, however, "to destroy Oglala 
Apolitical customs, whose fluid and adaptable nature 
^afforded the Oglalas the means and strengths to cope 
jwith external threats." 

Price briefly mentions women's roles in Oglala 
I political life (only one-and-a-half pages), asserting 
that they "served mainly as lobbyists and advisors." 
[ wish she had explored this topic more fully. Also, a 
few more maps would have been helpful, especially 
considering how many place names are thrown 
around. Only two maps are included, and they come 
well into the middle of the book. Nonetheless, this is 
a solid, well-researched book, with a concise after- 
word which summarizes the book's main points. 

Apart from the extensive detail about Oglala politics 
in the last half of the nineteenth century (perhaps too 
much for the non-specialist), the main strength of 
Price's book lies in the author's effort to tell the story 
from the Oglalas' perspectives. She makes a convinc- 
ing argument that federal officials were culturally 
predisposed to believe that the Oglala political sys- 
tem resembled their own. In this book Price hoped to 
present "Oglala leaders as active, vital, and commit- 
ted individuals . . . who had their own motives, plans, 
and agendas." In this she succeeded admirably. 

Reviewed by Scott C. Zeman, Arizona State University 

Re-Imagining the Modern American West: 
A Century of Fiction, History, and Art 

by Richard W. Etulain 

270 pages, illustrations, notes, index 
Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1996 
Cloth, $45.00; paper, $17.95. 

Richard Etulain's newest work is a synthesis of 
writers, historians and artists who make up the cul- 
tural landscape of the American West. His unique 
approach examines these interpreters of the Ameri- 
can West in three chronological periods which he 
refers to as "The West as Frontier," "The West as 
Region," and "The West as Postregion." As the book 
unfolds, clear explanations are given for the chrono- 
logical breaks and the reader is swept along at a brisk 
pace as Etulain masterfully reveals how various writ- 
ers and artists came to understand and then explain 
the West. Etulain correctly claims, using the analogy 
of a fine meal, that "served together, these main and 
side dishes provide a repast hitherto unavailable on 
the modern West." 

The defining part of "The West as Frontier" was 
the struggle for identity. Etulain explains that histori- 
ans, writers, and artists struggled with a clear identi- 
ty for the West "as an offshoot of the East, as a sepa- 
rate region, or as amalgam of East and West." 
Gradually, however, in the early twentieth century 
the American West was reinvented. Westerners 
adopted an "in-the-West" outlook on the region and 
they began scrutinizing changes within the West 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journaj 

rather than focusing on newcomers. Etulain points 
out that "these spokesman for a new regionalism not 
only pointed to the inadequacies of earlier frontier 
interpretations but also trumpeted the greater real- 
ism and relevance of a regional West." 

In the final section, "The West as Postregion/' the 
impact of World War II on the West comes through. 
The West begins to "think internationally" and histo- 
rians, writers, and artists reflect the diversity of the 
area. Etulain clearly shows "the preponderance of the 
country's Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asians 
made a difference in the West, where their voices 
were even more evident than elsewhere in American 
fiction and art." 

The work is appropriate for both a general audi- 
ence and Western specialist. The historiographical 
sections, from Turner to Limerick, will work particu- 
larly well in a college classroom, but historians will 
also be enlightened and interested in the literature 
and art sections. Overall, I found the book excellent 
and my criticisms minor. Perhaps, the inclusion of 
Native Americans that appears in the last section 
could be used throughout the book by including art 
from the nineteenth century and oral testimonies in 
the literature section. Also, given the vast amount of 
people Etulain deals with, some experts may find 
that he does not fully cover some of their favorites. 
These minor points aside, this is an important work 
and will hopefully encourage a broader look at the 
culture of the American West. 

Reviewed by Ryan Madden, Western Washington 

Wind Energy in America: A History 

by Robert W. Righter 

Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996 

xxii + 361 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliographic notes, index. 

Cloth, $34.95 

Harnessing energy for human use is the central 
theme in the history of technology, but wind power's 
antiquity is not matched by its importance in modern 
electrical grids. Robert Righter desires to "provide a 
narrative history of the American effort to utilize the 
wind for electrical energy." Using sources ranging 

from engineering journals to government files t( 
interviews, he has succeeded in producing a likabl< 
account devoid of moralizing over 'hard' or 'soft! 
energy paths, a history with more than a few surpris 
es along the way. 

The American history of wind energy has twc 
paths, which the author uses to illustrate "the frictioi 
between centralism and localism." The local patli 
starts with the well-known history of water-pumping 
windmill proliferation across the Great Plains I 
extends to the many early twentieth century entre 
preneurs who sold small electricity-generating wine 
turbines for as little as $1,000 to farms and ranchers 
and reaches to the 1970s revival of turbines amonji 1 
those seeking independence from electrical grids j 
Wind energy lends itself to decentralization and indi 
vidualism, but this path has been overwhelmed m 
the centralizing effects of the economies of scald 
made possible by the availability and development o 
fossil fuels, hydroelectric power, and public utilitl 
systems, and their influences on federal polic) 
Righter contributes an alternate perspective on th 
New Deal Rural Electrification Administration 
which, through centralization, eliminated the energ; 
independence then available through small-seal 
wind technology. 

The second half of Righter 's book details th 
post-1970s resurgence of interest and activity in ceni 
tralized wind-powered electrical generation. Th 
story is mixed: optimism for energy diversificatior 
federal and state laws providing startup incentiv 
for "wind farms," the fleecing of investors by urn 
scrupulous promoters, ambitiously-huge America! 
turbine designs that failed, the influx of Danish engi 
neers with their effective machines, and the transfor 
mation of locales (particularly in California) by th 
new breed of wind generators. While providing 
useful account of policy politics, Righter enhances hi 
discussion by noting another cultural tension: Amei 
icans regard windmills as nostalgic icons of pastorc 
America, but the new wind turbine systems generat 
both electricity and hostile opinions from those re 
pelled by their futuristic reshaping of landscapes 

An engaging collection of personalities enliven 
the book, ranging from Cleveland's Charles Brusl 
who in 1888 built a massive backyard generator wit 
a rotor spanning fifty-six feet, to Montanan Marcellu 
Jacobs, whose household generators worked depenc 
ably across the Great Plains and as far afield a 

'ALL, 1997 

Antarctica, powering Byrd's Little America site in 
933. Strange bedfellows in the politics of wind 
nclude Sonny Bono, whose political career in 
California has included efforts both for and against 
vind energy, and conservation groups (such as the 
iierra'Club) which have opposed wind projects for 
oncerns of aesthetics and avian mortality. 

The book is well illustrated and reads briskly, but 
ontains excessive typographical errors that should 
lave been corrected by the publisher. 

More importantly, Righter reminds us that there 
s no panacea: every energy source contains compro- 
nises. Even harvesting the breezes is not quite so 
)enign as it seemed in the Whole Earth Catalog days. 
A/hile the structural skeletons of an abandoned wind 
arm may be a qualitatively different sort of waste 
problem than spent nuclear fuel rods, long-term 
ationality has seldom, if ever, modified immediate 
policy decisions. As Wind Energy in America effec- 
ively details, making electricity is a social and cul- 
ural process, not merely a set of engineering prob- 

Reviewed by Timothy M. Rawson, University of Oregon 

Wyoming: A Source Book 

!?y Roy A. Jordan and S. Brett DeBoer 
<vii + 351 pages, illustrations, figures, maps, tables, graphs, 
iij bibliography, and index 
Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1996 
| 3 aper, $29.95. 

History may be organized and presented in a 
variety of ways; thematical, chronological, or bio- 
graphical, to name only a few. History is also written 
:o deliver information, shape opinions, and explore 
]:he purposes and effects of human thoughts and 
actions. Wyoming: A Source Book is organized along 
:hematic lines, and even though the book gives the 
appearance of containing only facts and figures, the 
selection and examination of information clearly 
"eflects the opinions and preferences of the authors, 
rhis is not a criticism but an observation because Roy 
Jordan and Brett DeBoer have fashioned a thought- 
Drovoking account about conditions and develop- 
ments in Wyoming mainly during the 1990s. 


While the reader undoubtedly will acquire a great 
deal of "nice-to-know" information about Wyoming 
demographics, land and water policy, economic 
activities, government and politics, social and health 
conditions, and uses of the natural environment, this 
is not the type of book one starts digesting on page 
one and continues with until the plot has been 
explored and uncovered. Rather, one has the oppor- 
tunity to select from any one of the seventeen inde- 
pendent chapters (plots) and delve into information 
that may be of personal interest or is being covered in 
the news or debated in the political realm. For exam- 
ple, Chapter One, "Land in Wyoming," covers topics 
ranging from Wyoming's wild horses to federal land 
management in Wyoming, while Chapter Ten, "Life 
and Health in Wyoming," offers information on 
health and life style issues, such as teen suicide rates, 
death rates due to cancer, alcohol consumption statis- 
tics, and the impact of AIDS. 

An especially valuable aspect of the book is the 
data-based nature of its content because public opin- 
ion sometimes is derived from very little hard evi- 
dence. Jordan and DeBoer offer a multitude of facts 
that the reader can draw upon to establish a quanti- 
tative basis for formulating opinions. For example, 
what evidence may lead one to draw the conclusion 
that Wyoming is a good place to live? Through 
numerous bar graphs, pie charts, tables, and columns 
of figures, the authors depict numerous quantifiable 
features of life in Wyoming. The visual aids are cre- 
atively presented and, for the most part, are easily 
understood. A typical page in the book displays an 
array of statistics which fortunately are supplement- 
ed with narrative descriptions or explanations locat- 
ed at the bottom of the page. However, the narrative 
and data are sometimes out of sync, and the reader 
has to hunt for connected information. This situation 
crates only a minor inconvenience because the mate- 
rial generally is well organized. 

If the book contained only listings of information 
about minerals and agricultural production, employ- 
ment statistics, numbers of homicides, population 
data, Wyoming state general fund revenue, and life 
expectancy, its value and useability would be severe- 
ly limited. Fortunately, the authors put flesh on the 
bare bones of statistics by interspersing brief essays 
and interpretive commentary throughout the text. 
The well-chosen essays, which are contained within 
or follow each of the chapters, examine themes 


Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journai 

important to the authors and the citizens of 
Wyoming. While some are mainly descriptive — 
"Natural Gas Production/' "A Wyoming Tax Profile," 
and "Landscapes as Nationalism" — others touch on 
controversial topics meaningful to the authors: 
"Environmental Protection in Wyoming," 
"Groundwater," "Wyoming Wildlife and the Law," 
"Social Assistance and the Standard of Need," and 
"Workplace Safety." Each essay is replete with sup- 
portive data, thereby offering the reader more than 
just causal commentary. These essays alone make the 
book worth reading because they are crisply written 
and serve as "intellectual appetizers." For those not 
drawn to charts and graphs, a wealth of information 
and insight can be found in the descriptions typically 
located at the bottom quarter of most pages. 

The most enticing chapters are the ones on life 
and health, social services, marriage and divorce and 
crime in Wyoming. In these chapters the authors offer 
an excellent statistical glimpse into the social and cul- 

tural conditions found in present day Wyoming 
Among the data are many bothersome and not s<< 
"nice-to-know" facts about Wyoming. 

Wyoming: A Source Book is both an interpretativ< 
and data-based account of contemporary Wyoming 
that allows readers the opportunity to become mor< 
knowledgeable about selected topics and bits o 
information. Read in its entirety, this volume shoulc 
also stimulate one to contemplate responses to large 
questions: What is Wyoming and what is the natun 
of its social, economic, and political challenges 
Finally, the authors have provided an excellen 
resource, which contains an extensive bibliograph) 
for scholars, public officials, and general public who 
want to venture beyond exploring what happened I 
why events unfold and why societies behave as the] 

Reviewed by James R. Johns, Laramie County 
Community College 

J ; ALL, 1997 


Hebard Collection Acquisit 

Recent acquisitions in the Hebard Collection, University of Wyoming Libraries 
Compiled by Tamsen L. Hert 

The Grace Raymond Hebard Wyoming Collec- 
tion is a branch of the University of Wyoming Lib- 
aries, housed in the Owen Wister Western Writers 
heading Room in the American Heritage Center in 
.aramie. Primarily a research collection, the core of 
(his collection is Miss Hebard's personal library 
I vhich was donated to the university libraries, 
urther donations have been significant in the devel- 
opment of this collection. The Hebard Collection is 
:onsidered to be the most comprehensive collection 
m Wyoming in the state. 

To mark the 125th anniversary of the founding of 
Yellowstone National Park, acquisitions cited in this 
ssue of Annals of Wyoming relate to the history and 
natural history of our nation's first national park. 

If you have any questions about these materials 
)r the Hebard Collection, you may contact Ms. Hert 
:>y phone at 307-766-6245; by email to <thert@uwyo 
edu>; or you can access the Hebard homepage at 

New Publications 

The Ecological Implications of Fire in Greater Yellow- 
stone, Proceedings, Second Biennial Conference on the 
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Fairfield, WA: In- 
ternational Association of Wildland Fire, 1996. 

Hebard, Science, JacRes QK 195 G75 1993 

Elhard, Jay Robert. Wolf Tourist: One Summer in the 
West. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 

Hebard & Science QL 737 .C22 E58 1996 

Ferguson, Gary. The Yellowstone Wolves: the First Year. 
Helena, MT: Falcon, 1996. 

Hebard & Science QL 737 .C22 F475 1996 

Heasler, H.P., C. Jaworowski, R.W. Jones, R.H. 

DeBruin, and A.J. Ver Ploeg. A Self-Guided Tour of 
the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and Surrounding 
Area, Northwestern Wyoming, Public Information 

Circular No. 35. Laramie: Wyoming State 
Geological Survey, 1996. 

Hebard & Geology QE 181 .A253 no. 35 

Juracek, John and Craig Mathews. Fishing Yellow- 
stone Hatches. West Yellowstone, MT: Blue Ribbon 
Flies, 1992 

Hebard & Science SH 451 J873 1992 

Little, Charles E. Discover America: The Smithsonian 
Book of the National Parks. Washington, DC: Smith- 
sonian Books, 1995. 

Hebard & Coe E 160 .L57 1995 

Mathews, Craig and John Juracek. Fly Patterns of 
Yellowstone. West Yellowstone, MT: Blue Ribbon 
Flies, 1987. 

Hebard & Science SH 451 .M39 1987 

Meyer, Judith L. The Spirit of Yellowstone: The Cultural 
Evolution of a National Park. Lanham, MD: Row- 
man & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1996. 
Hebard & Coe F 722 .M49 1996 

Miller, Arthur P., Jr. and Marjorie L. Miller. Trails 
Across America: Traveler's Guide to Our National 
Scenic and Historic Trails. Golden, CO: Fulcrum 
Publishing, 1996. 

Hebard & Coe GV 199.4 .M55 1996 

Morand, Anne. Thomas Moron, the Field Sketches, 
1856-1923. Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1996. 

Hebard & Coe N 6537 .M6443 A4 1996 

Phillips, Michael & Douglas W. Smith. The Wolves of 
Yellowstone. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 1996. 

Hebard, Science, Geo QL 737 G22 P5 1996 

Sanborn, Margaret. The Grand Tetons: The Story of 
Taming the Western Wilderness. (Revised Edition) 
Moose, WY: Homestead Publishing, 1993. 

Hebard & Coe F 767 .T29 S264 1993 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journa; 

Schmidt, Jeremy and Thomas. Grand Teton: Citadels 
of Stone. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1996. 

Hebard & Coe F 767 .T3 S36 1996 

Schreier, Carl. A Field Guide to Yellowstone's Geysers, 
Hot Springs and Fumaroles. (Revised Edition) 
Moose, WY: Homestead Publishing, 1992. 

Hebard, Geo, JacRes GB 1198.7 .Y44 S37 1992 

Schullery, Paul (Ed.). The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide 
and Sourcebook. Worland, WY: High Plains 
Publishing Co., © The Yellowstone Association, 

Hebard, Sci & JacRes QL 737 .C22 Y45 1996 

Older Titles 

Hardy, Mrs. A.S. [Mary Earle]. Little Ta-wish: Indian 
Legends from Geyserland. Chicago: Rand McNally 
& Company, 1914. 

Hebard E 78 .M9 H27 1914 

Hirschmann, Fred. Yellowstone. (Revised, 2nd 
Printing) Portland: Graphic Arts Center 
Publishing Company, 1987 ©1982. 

Hebard F 722 .H55 1987 

Hough, Emerson. Maw's Vacation: the Story of a 
Human Being in the Yellowstone. Saint Paul: J.E. 
Haynes, 1921 ©1920. 

Hebard & Coe PS 3515 .07593 M38x 1921 

James, George Wharton. Our American Wonderlands. 
Chicago: A.C. McClurg , 1915. 

Hebard F 595 J26 

Mills, Enos A. Your National Parks. Boston, New 
York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917. 

Hebard E 160 .M65 1917b 

Murphy, Thomas D. Three Wonderlands of the 
American West: Being the Notes of a Traveler, 
Concerning the Yellowstone Park, the Yosemite 
National Park, and the Grand Canyon of the 
Colorado River .... (New Revised Edition) 
Boston: The Page Company, 1919. 

Hebard F 595 .M97 1919 

Murphy, Thomas D. Seven Wonderlands of the 
American West: Being the Notes of a Traveler 
Concerning Various Pilgrimages to the Yellowstone 
National Park, .... Boston: L.C. Page & Company 

Hebard E 160 .M97 

Over the Top via Red Lodge — Cooke City HIGHway to 
and From Yellowstone Park. Red Lodge, MT: Red 
Lodge Commercial Club, 1936. 

Hebard F 739 .R43 09 1936 

Tompkins, I. N. Glimpses of the West: a Trip with the 
National Editorial Association in 1922. Mankato, 
MN: Free Press, 1922. 

Hebard F 595 . T667 1992 

Topping, Eugene Sayre. Chronicles of the Yellowstone. 
St. Paul: Pioneer Press Co., 1888. 

Hebard F 737 Y4 1888 

Union Pacific Railroad Company. California and the 
Expositions; Yellowstone National Park — How to G 
and What to See Enroute. Omaha: Union Pacific 
System, 1915 

Hebard F595 .U58 1915 

Vacations Without a Care: Burlington Escorted Tours to 
Glacier, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain Parks, 
Colorado. Chicago: Poole Brothers, 1925. 

Hebard F 721 .V322 1925 (1926 edition also available) 

Yellowstone National Park. St. Paul, MN: Northern 
Pacific Railroad, Yellowstone Park Line, 1925. 

Hebard F 722 Y357 1925 

Government Publications 

Petrified Forests of Yellowstone. Washington, DC: U.S. 
Department of the Interior, 1980. 

Hebard & Docs I 29.9/5:108 

Yellowstone-Beartooth-Big Horn Region. (Guidebook 
24: Excursion C-2) Washington: International 
Geological Congress, 1933. 
Hebard 1 19.34:24 c.2 

The Wyoming State Historical Society 

The Wyoming State Historical Society is a confederation of more than 20 local chapters located in every 
area of the state. Members enjoy the frequent gatherings of their local groups and participate in pro- 
grams and activities that preserve and interpret their communities' history. Several times each year, 
members from all across Wyoming come together for major events where they celebrate common histor- 
ical interests. 

Membership in fhe society is open to everyone. Member benefits include a subscription to Annals of 
Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal, a quarterly journal devoted to broader public understanding of 
all aspects of Wyoming history; and Wyoming History News, the society's newsletter, which is published 
ten times each year. Membership dues also provide support for a comprehensive awards program that 
recognizes people who are doing something to preserve and interpret local and state history; for 
Wyoming History Day, which allows thousands of Wyoming school children to participate in history 
projects and to compete at district, state and national history day events; for research grants that support 
the study and publication of Wyoming history; and for a variety of special projects which help preserve 
and interpret the state's rich history. 

If you are already a member of the Wyoming State Historical Society we solicit your continued interest, 
involvement and support. If you are not a member, or if you know of other non-members who share an 
interest in Wyoming history, we urge you (and them) to join. Contact a member of your local historical 
society, or write to the Wyoming State Historical Society at 1740H184 Dell Range Blvd, Cheyenne, WY 

Membership dues are: $20 (single), $30 (joint), $15 (student, under 21 years of age), $40 (institutions). For 
those who wish to support the society in a more substantial way, participation at one of the following 
levels is appreciated: contributing member ($100-$249), sustaining member ($250-$499), patron ($500- 
$999), donor ($1,000 and over). In addition to all benefits of regular membership, participants at these 
levels are recognized in Wyoming History News. 

The northwest comer of what is today the 
state of vi'yoming attracted special 
attention from visitors long before it was set 
aside as the nations first national park. 

And while the natural features that make Yellowstone National 
Park so spectacular remain basically the same, the experience of 
a park visit has changed dramatically with new modes of trans- 
portation, improvements in accommodations, and the values of 
visitors. This special issue examines the history of some of 
those changes while acknowledging the 125th anniversary of 
the founding of Yellowstone — in 1872. 

Particular attention is given to the years between 1910 and 
1920, when the automobile came of age. That focus is signifi- 
cant because it was the automobile that brought an end to a 
Yellowstone era that had been dominated by a moneyed class 
of visitors who could afford to travel to the park via the rail- 
roads, pay for the luxurious accommodations offered in 
Yellowstone's hotels, and enjoy the scenery while being driven 
about in the park's stagecoaches. 

The opening of the park to automobiles on August 1, 1915 not 
only made the park more accessible to a much larger group of 
visitors, it also changed the nature of park accommodations. 
Ultimately, that change led to the kind of Yellowstone experi- 
ence that we know today.